Social Work Peer Support group publishes first poetry and art journal

The Social Work Peer Support (SWPS) group at Wayne State University (WSU) is a learning community open to any students interested in social work. “With the support of our incredible professor, Judith Wineman, we hold educational and recreational events for students, including open drop-in hours, one-on-one meetings and academic support,” said Samantha “Sami” Dwornick, an SWPS lead peer mentor and School of Social Work MSW candidate.

SWPS Poetry and Arts journalRecently, SWPS published the first ever “Poetry & Art Journal” on grief, loss, isolation, and self-care. “You are not alone. Your stories matter. Open to view life through peers through words, photography, and other art,” its description reads.

“Fellow MSW student Margaret O’Doherty-Nelson reached out to me with the idea of a poetry and art journal and wanted the help and collaboration of SWPS to get it published. We wanted to give people a chance to use their creativity to show who they were feeling as a social worker, a student, and as a human in this tough world,” Dwornick said.

Dwornick, a student in O’Doherty-Nelson’s SW 8860 Grief & Loss Issues in Social Work Practice course with other collaborators in the journal, appreciated the support of Associate Professor Karen Weiner, who encouraged self-care activities during every class period.

“The first poem in the journal is a shared poem from that class. Once we realized how powerful it was to share our ideas and thoughts, the class agreed to contribute the poem to the journal, and I’m so happy we did,” Dwornick said.

Students and faculty can download the digital journal for free or visit the School of Social Work Community Engagement Lounge to pick up a hard copy while supplies last.

Artists and collaborators included Dwornick, Hosanna F., Amber Barker, Andre Iadipaolo, El Rukeyser Johnson, Helena Blackmore, Austin Ash, Dakota Gamble, Margaret O’Doherty-Nelson, as well as students from the Grief & Loss course.

Some of the titles include “Being Different,” “Soul,” “On Isolating,” and “An Imposter.” A “Be Kind to Your Mind” coloring page is also featured.

An expert from “Community,” a poem by Dakota Gamble, reads:

“Celebration of each other as individuals and as a

group, for our achievements and strengths

Opportunity to unite people under a shared vision

Mother to love all for their uniqueness”

“It was so rewarding seeing all the submissions and how beautifully talented the contributors are. When everyone has a similar goal, the collaboration process is easy and so much fun,” Dwornick said, noting she “got chills reading the poems and looking at the artwork.”

Her favorite messages in the journal are “you are not alone,” “have hope,” and “allow and welcome change and all the emotions that come with it.”

“We wanted to publish this as a way for faculty and students to read, feel connected, and take a moment to relax while doing the coloring sheets, meditation, or journal prompts that were included,” Dwornick said.

SWPS plans on publishing another journal in the spring and are currently accepting submissions. The deadline for submissions is April 14, 2023.

“We plan to work with other SSW student organizations this semester and do collaborative creative sessions for the second edition.”

Dwornick would like to thank Dean Sheryl Kubiak, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Anwar Najor-Durack, and Associate Dean for Academics and Faculty Affairs Debra Patterson for their continued support of SWPS.

Hero caption from left: MSW candidates and SWPS mentors Samantha Dwornick, Amber Baker, and Austin Ash

Author: Laura Hipshore

Faculty spotlight

← Back to listing