Students from the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work and professor Jennifer Zelnick (pictured front row), recently went to Albany to lobby legislators on the New York state “Dream Act”–legislation that would extend public and private funding for higher education to undocumented New York City high school students who were brought to the U.S. as children. The Touro students were part of a group of over 160 social work students and faculty from schools around the state who appealed to their representatives as part of the New York state Social Work Education Association Lobby Day.
“Social work practitioners, educators and students support the New York state Dream Act because of the economic and social value that higher education brings to individuals and families, communities and the city as a whole,” Zelnick said. “We believe that instead of punishing undocumented students for their parents’ actions, high-achieving immigrant students should be supported in their dreams and aspirations.”
Steven Huberman, Ph.D., the founding dean of the school, added: “This trip reflects our commitment to social justice. Many of our students are from immigrant families and are first-generation Americans. They know firsthand that they can help the most vulnerable and those most at risk in New York. We want to extend that same opportunity to help others, to all newcomers to America.”
Students, pictured in top row, L to R: Evangeline Willis, Aris Johnson, Remercia Dieubon, Stephen Lande and Courtney Wilson. Middle row, L to R: Annalene Antonio, Rosa Diaz, Iris Ubidia and Serena (Sima) Polatoff.
Touro College’s Master of Social Work program trains clinical social work practitioners who awaken and enliven the innate ability of individuals, families and communities to meet their own needs and sustain their equilibrium, thereby enhancing their well-being. The program meets all academic requirements for both social work licenses: LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).