NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The well being of a community depends tremendously on social workers.
Here in East Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University Social Work interns provide essential assistance at a variety of service agencies and businesses.
Dr. Freddie Avant, director and associate dean of SFA's school of social work is relieved the national accreditation process is over.
"It is the most stressful experience that faculty and students and staff go through,: said Dr. Avant.
When social work intern Melanie Salas feels stress coming on, she retreats to the head start playground.
"They're just so fun. I love playing with them," said Salas.
Melanie serves hundreds of families and children.
Other interns work at hospitals, hospice, residential treatment programs and serve mental health agencies.
"They don't have maybe the resources to hire as many social workers that they definitely need and so with us coming in we're able to help them out without setting a burden on their funds," said Salas.
Their 500 hours of community service shows up in a six volume SFA social work self study.
That put SFA's social work instruction over the top in the mind's of an evaluation team.
"And the chair of the site team stated that she thought we area one of the most fascinating programs in the entire United States," said Avant.
A valued opinion following news in 1996 the program had insufficiencies.
Staff was added to meet the growing enrollment which put the school back in good standing.
"We would love to work ourselves out of a job, but there's an increasing need for social workers," said Avant.
Thanks to Melanie's help, social workers no longer give up their Saturday's to catch up on work.
Melanie loves to help out, but is looking forward to full employment serving others in need.
Recently the Veteran's Administration alerted SFA it's hiring over 1, 600 employees to serve returning soldiers.
The majority of the positions are for social workers.