Perry Cline, BSW Student
"My life's work now is to help others."
I was raised by low income, working-class people in Chicago, Illinois. I didn’t have the best of things but I was very content with what we had. I’m a product of the Chicago public school system; one of the worst schools in the country in the mid 1980’s. Our books were outdated; there were no lab opportunities for science, and the math scores were one of the lowest in the country. There was always crime and drug use within the building and an armed police officer presence was always seen in the halls. The graduation rate was low and the dropout rate was high each year.
My life’s work now is to help others.
As a resident of Champaign-Urbana, I decided to go to Parkland College to pursue a degree. After graduating in 2016 with a degree in Fine Arts, I applied to the University of Illinois. It was a challenge, but I was accepted. I think it was the best decision of my life.
As a result of a Social Entrepreneurship class (321), I helped to start an organization called Recovery Happens; a registered non-profit in Champaign-Urbana. The assignment was to create a business plan for an initiative aimed at helping people in need. Recovery Happens provides transitional living accommodations for people entering recovery and offers a living model that integrates behavioral health practice with other life skills. This was an easy decision for me, as a member of the recovery community in C-U. There is a need for people who want to change their environment. On December 1st, 2017, Recovery Happens opened its doors for six adult men. On May 5th, 2018, we opened another house for four adult women, and by December 2018, we will be opening a 3rd house for six more men.
Currently, I’m in my BSW internship at Rosecrance Health Network. At Rosecrance, we provide treatment services that allow individuals struggling with substance abuse the opportunity to mature and become grounded in recovery as they progress toward a successful and drug-free future. I work as a Unit Specialist, an entry-level clinical position. My role provides a therapeutic environment to our clients in our adult unit by leading groups, transporting clients to outside meetings, assisting with relapse prevention, and preparing our clients with the life skills needed to help them during the recovery process.
Outside of this role, I have founded and supported numerous Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings at various locations in the Champaign-Urbana community. I recently helped start a new meeting in Atwood IL, which is about 40 minutes south of Champaign where I reside. Our outreach efforts in this area have been very successful, as it is an under-served community in terms of recovery options. I have played a vital part in creating an NA presence in this rural area.
I also serve as Activities Chair for the Primary Purpose Area of Narcotics Anonymous (PPANA), which is the business outreach side of our fellowship. In this position, my responsibilities are to organize and plan NA outreach events, which includes inviting NA speakers to our area to share their experiences, strength, and hope in recovering from drug addiction. These events have a budget of $500-$1k and require careful planning and coordination. The purpose of these events is to provide outreach to recovering addicts who are still suffering. There is no payment to those of us serving on the PPANA business committee. We are volunteers who believe that helping others ultimately helps our recovery.
I’m also a volunteer peer mentor with a non-for-profit organization called First Followers. This organization helps formerly incarcerated men and women make a smooth transition back into our community. We provide job search computer labs and also advocate for these individuals to have the resources needed to get back on their feet.
On a personal level, I seek to provide a safe place and a family atmosphere to build individuals into clean and productive members of society. I want to help take away the stigma that drug addiction brings. This is done by providing hope and opportunity that many have never experienced before. This is designed to empower the individual and enhance their life choices. Ultimately, I want to encourage these individuals to do the same for others in the future. I want to help people who face addiction by providing personal support as a social worker. I believe my work can both help individuals and contribute to overall change. Pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Illinois will help me obtain this goal.
What brought me here? Let’s just say I had an epiphany. I had a “spiritual awakening.” I got clean. I learned who I am and I became happy with myself.
My goal is to continue my education and obtain my MSW. One day I hope to have my own social work practice and continue helping as many people as I can.
Posted on 10.26.2018
“What really drew me to the BSW program, particularly at the University of Illinois, is the network of support. My experience at the U of I has been so positive, and I can only attribute that to the enriching experience that is the BSW program; my professors whose sole concerns are not just grades, but ... See full story
“The reason I chose the MSW program is because I was looking for an experience that would give me valuable skills that I could implement to make a difference within our youth by catering to their mental health and behavioral needs. If you are looking for a master’s program that teaches you advance techniques and ... See full story
I have always had a passion for people. I knew that, one day, I wanted to work in a position where I could help empower others, propelling them to fully discover their worth and live out their purpose. Upon my senior year of high school, I discovered the ongoing devastation known as human trafficking. And ... See full story
I am a 2013 MSW graduate from the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am originally from Los Angeles, California and received my BA in Social Work from California State University, Fresno in 2011. To say that I was born and raised in California is an understatement of my ... See full story
“I grew so much during my time in the BSW and MSW programs, and had some amazing support and opportunities. I felt truly invested in as a student, and that’s why I decided to stay to finish my education. I received encouragement in all of my endeavors, and knew that I could go to anyone ... See full story
“The relationships that I built at U of I with the students and staff have been maintained now for over three years. I think that facts speak to their investment in their students and their genuineness. I was recruited to the Illinois Association of School Social Workers by one of my former professors and then ... See full story
Background: I attended the Eastern Illinois University from 2004-2008 and obtained my Bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Sciences. I then attended the University of Illinois School of Social Work Master’s program from 2008-2010. It was through that program that I was introduced to the Crisis Nursery in Urbana. I began as a volunteer for a ... See full story
I never realized that my three degrees from the University of Illinois would combine into the opportunity to teach law to thousands of MSW students who then work to benefit the lives of others. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have these students in my classroom and watch them grow into skilled practitioners, as well ... See full story
“My choice to attend University of Illinois School of Social Work was one of the best decisions I could have made. This decision, not only provided a dense academic foundation, but it also provided many opportunities to work outside the classroom prior to field placement. The Community Learning Lab (CLL) provided a way to begin ... See full story
Q: Describe your duties as an Academic Coach for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. A: I provide academic support to student-athletes across all sports who are at-risk or have diagnosed learning disabilities/ADHD. Academic support includes working with student-athletes in areas such as study strategies, time management, organization, navigating the writing process, assignment completion, and generalized ... See full story
I chose social work as my career path simply because it teaches me how to selflessly serve. The training I receive in my classes and through my professors challenge me to look beyond my comfort zones and to be prepared in the most efficient and effective way for when I enter the international social work ... See full story
Grace’s Background: “I moved to Urbana-Champaign in 1978 from Baltimore, Maryland, where I was raised in the McCollum Homes housing projects with my grandmother. As a single parent and welfare recipient, I struggled to raise my daughter and survive the vicious circle of poverty. I was actively involved in working with the adolescents in the ... See full story
“When I decided to pursue a Master of Social Work, I knew there was only one choice: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! Throughout the application process, I had so many questions and concerns, yet Illinois never grew frustrated. I felt genuinely cared for by the faculty and staff who proved themselves to be very ... See full story
“I chose The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a couple of reasons. One, Illinois is the premier university that not only employers see as an major asset in employees, but also has the absolute best professors that care about their students’ successes. The staff at the School of Social Work from advising to internship ... See full story
“I had always wanted to be a teacher when I grew up because I wanted to make an impact in others’ lives. When I started college, I soon realized that my life dream to help young people would take on new directions. As I began to take classes at University of Illinois, a new path ... See full story
“I decided to attend the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois because of the amazing reputation that the program has- I knew there was no other school I wanted to attend. I chose the Health Care concentration because I had a strong interest in geriatric services, specifically Hospice Care. In the Health ... See full story
“Truthfully, as a veteran and resident of Illinois, I was confined to Illinois for graduate school since I have a veteran’s grant from the state that pays my tuition. U of I was my first choice, not only because of its prestigious history and well recognized reputation, but I got such a good “vibe” from ... See full story
“My experience in my MSW program cannot be described with mere words but I will use 3 words to describe it: great, awesome and fun filled. I did not only receive education towards my graduate degree, but I also developed my leadership skills. As an Executive Board Member of the GSWA and Student Co-Leader of ... See full story
“As a part-time MSW student who was working full-time, I knew that I would face a number of unique challenges and obstacles. I was worried that I may not receive the same attention or care because I was not as visible or present as the full-time students. However, my fears quickly subsided as I began ... See full story
“The MSW program prepared me for field practicum by allowing me to learn both inside and outside of the classroom. The professors in the program genuinely want the students to succeed; they promote both personal and professional growth throughout the coursework. For example, I was able to apply my interests in both criminal justice and ... See full story
My association with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began in 1968 when I arrived on campus as an eighteen year old freshman. It wasn’t until 1989 that I walked into 1207 W. Oregon for the first time. ... See full story
“I entered the field of social work after working for several years as a practitioner and researcher in international development. I knew I wanted to pursue a doctoral program that focused on applied research, and that enabled my continued work abroad. Since day one in the social work program, I have felt completely supported by ... See full story