View of Detroit Buildings

Fueling Detroit Social Workers

U-M parents help School of Social Work students make an impact in Detroit

School of Social Work students
Donor support has brought School of Social Work students to Detroit for volunteer and internship opportunities at organizations like the Henry Ford Health System and St. Jude’s Home for Boys.

Annmarie and Neil Hawkins aren’t University of Michigan alumni. Nor did they grow up in Detroit. But when they saw the impact that their daughter Rachel Hawkins (MSW ’12) had in practicum fieldwork with Detroit agencies, the couple started brainstorming ways to support U-M’s presence in Detroit. “It dawned on us that students who have limited resources may not be able to afford the travel expenses, and ultimately wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn and serve in Detroit,” said Annmarie. “If you have the heart and desire to work in the Detroit area, but not the funds, you may not be able to follow your passion and that would be a real loss.”

The pair established the Rachel M. Hawkins Field Placement Travel Support Fund in collaboration with Neil’s employer, Dow Chemical, to cover travel expenses and allow School of Social Work students to impact local communities in the Detroit area. “We like being involved with direct support and we think working in Detroit provides a one-of-a-kind experience,” Neil said, “so we came up with the idea to create a gas fund, which would support students who may not have the resources to make the daily drive to the Detroit area.”

The fund also opens pathways for M.S.W. students to embark on careers in these communities. “This award has made it possible to have a field placement that is relevant to my desired practice and population,” says alumnus Joe Ramaley (MSW ’15). “I have enjoyed every day of my internship at St. Jude’s Home for Boys in Detroit, which was made possible by the Hawkins family’s award.”



Interested in learning more about U-M’s partnership with Detroit?


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