Laurel House, Inc. today announces the creation of an annual Social Work Racial Equity Scholarship Award program. Our goals are to cultivate more Black and Hispanic social workers who are committed to social change and to increase access to mental health care treatment by communities of color. Applications are now open for one $10,000 scholarship and two cash awards – one for $1,000 and one for $500.

Laurel House Social Work Racial Equity Scholarship Awards:

A one-time $10,000 award will be made to a selected applicant for the 2022/2023 school year.

Awarded scholarship funds are intended for tuition, books, related fees, and expenses and are paid directly to the school in which the applicant is enrolled.

One-time $1,000 cash award and $500 cash award will be given directly to two runner-up applicants for use in defraying Master of Social Work graduate program expenses.

Who is Eligible?*

Eligible applicants must be (all of the below):

  • a CT resident
  • Black or Hispanic
  • enrolled in Master’s of Social Work curriculum in CT or NY program (letter of recommendation)
  • able to demonstrate need for financial assistance (complete personal statement)
  • dedicated to improving access to mental health care for underserved CT communities of people of color.
  • Scholarship winners are not eligible to receive a second award, although former runner-ups are welcome to apply again to receive the Scholarship.

*Employees of Laurel House, Inc. and members of their families are not eligible for this scholarship. Laurel House employees may apply for tuition assistance of up to $5,000 per year for relevant graduate studies.

Who Selects The Finalists?

The Award Selection Committee will select the finalist candidates and name winners.

Jay Boll, LMSW, Vice President, Laurel House, Inc. and Editor in Chief, www.rtor.org
Ellen Carter, MPA, Vice President of Program, Connecticut Health Foundation
Kathleen Gilbert, LCSW, Resources to Recover Advisory Board Director
Danielle LeBlanc, MSW, Diversity Outreach Resource Specialist, Laurel House, Inc.
Stephen A. Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW, Executive Director, NASW, CT Chapter

Award Winner decisions will be announced
Friday, July 29, 2022 by the selection committee.

How to Apply

An online Scholarship Application form and instructions are available here, or contact us at equityscholarship@laurelhouse.net for more information.

The online application must be submitted on or before June 30, 2022. A separate Letter of Recommendation and any other supporting documents must be received by email by the same date. (email to: equityscholarship@laurelhouse.net)

Apply Online

Tribute to Kathleen Gilbert, LCSW, Resources to Recover Advisory Board Director

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kathleen Gilbert is a consummate social worker and the inspiration for our Social Work Racial Equity Scholarship. She is a role model for all Laurel House clinicians whom she supervised for licensure, augmenting the daily supervision provided by our own clinicians. While working for Darien High School and the Board of Education, she counseled students and their families and mentored her peers and social workers in training. As a member of the Board of Directors of the CT Chapter of NASW, Kathleen successfully advocated for her profession.

The Need for Black and People of Color as Mental Health Care Professionals

Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American people have higher rates of some mental health disorders and face greater disparities in getting help than White people, largely due to lack of access to services (American Psychological Association). With proper care, 70 – 90% of people with mental illness experience significant reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life. However, there are barriers to individuals seeking help for themselves or loved ones: access to and cost of treatment, stigma, and availability of local, culturally appropriate mental health care resources.

Award Winner decisions will be announced
Friday, July 29, 2022 by the Award Selection Committee.

About Laurel House, Inc. and www.rtor.org

Laurel House, Inc. helps individuals and families achieve and sustain mental health to lead fulfilling lives in the community. Our core purpose is social inclusion, early intervention and recovery. The mission of www.rtor.org, a free service of Laurel House and a gateway website to mental health resources, is to close the gap between detection of the first signs of emerging mental health problems and engagement in effective care and treatment.

Laurel House and www.rtor.org are committed to the advancement of racial equity and social justice, and to making mental health services accessible to all.

What else is Laurel House doing to help employees who are black and people of color succeed as mental health care professionals?

We provide employees tuition reimbursement of up to $5,000 per year for relevant graduate studies.

We provide onsite internships for our employees who are in graduate school working on a Master’s degree in Social Work or Mental Health Counseling and having difficulty locating an internship that accommodates their schedules. To give the employees qualifying experience in different departments, we provide supervision from a different LCSW supervisor.

We provide free onsite supervision for licensure, including paying for external resources for licensure if we do not have sufficient staffing available for the number of candidates.

We offer professional development to our own staff to facilitate growth, such as mentoring the individual in areas in which he/she has not had the advantage of training or specific education. This helps an individual improve his or her confidence, find a voice among peers and managers, and identify areas of additional training or experience if needed.

Please share this announcement with any eligible applicant you know. The announcement will be distributed to all CT and NY Master of Social Work programs.