As the first Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), the highest social work license available, Heidi O’Quinn has brought new life to the office of the Edmundite Missions.
As the Edmundite’s LICSW, O’Quinn serves as the program manager for Catholic Social Services, a department within Edmundite Missions.
O’Quinn performs a host of services as part of her role in the Edmundites including crisis intervention.
“Our goal is to try and bring our clients back to some sort of equilibrium or stability,” said O’Quinn. “A lot of our clients have experienced a lot of trauma and are in a crisis just trying to make it through the day. We offer utility assistance, medication assistance and temporary housing assistance in cases of things like fires.”
O’Quinn recently assisted clients who’s home had burned down.
“We brought food, provided them with a place to stay and they received counseling from me as well as recommendations to other organizations that could help them.”
In order to serve her clients efficiently, O’Quinn uses an assessment system to identify each individual needs of her clients.
“Whatever crisis walks through the door we try to first identify what it is through our assessment process and then gather the resources needed to solve that crisis,” said O’Quinn.
In addition to the social work aspect of her role, O’Quinn also manages the Edmundite’s apprenticeship program.
“The apprenticeship program aims to help people who have been out of the workforce get back into the workforce,” said O’Quinn. “We actually pay them to come on board and be a part of our team and then they meet with me and I help them address any barriers that may have kept them from being successful in the workforce.”
As part of the program, O’Quinn teaches money management skills, basic living skills, resume skills and anything else to help boost a clients professional development skills to get them back into the workforce.
With all of the responsibilities that O’Quinn’s role at Edmundite Missions entails, there are very few typical days in her life.
“My motto is blessed are those who are flexible for they won’t get bent out of shape,” said O’Quinn. “Every day is a new day, you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Though O’Quinn’s job can be both mentally and emotionally draining, she is constantly able to find inspiration in the clients she works with.
“The people I work with are just beautiful people, they’re really resilient,” said O’Quinn, “When I engage with them, a lot of them are really trying to better themselves.”
It can be tough to be a social worker. O’Quinn often deals with trauma and tragedy on a daily basis. Despite being a witness to such hardship though, one of the most rewarding aspects of O’Quinn’s job is watching people support one another to overcome tragedy.
“My favorite thing about this job,” said O’Quinn, “Is that when there is a tragedy or trauma here in Selma, I feel like the people of Selma really respond as a city. The people of Selma really come together as a community.