Ayoka Jack is twenty-eight (28) years old and has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Minor Criminal Justice from Bowie State University. She is currently completing her Masters in Social Work (MSW) at Morgan State University. Upon completion of her Masters degree, she wants to get licensed (LICSW) and advocate for the Black community through case management with community resources with mental health, substance abuse, advocacy, and developmental life skills.
As stated before, she obtained her Bachelor's degree from Bowie State University in 2013. Since then, she has worked in various settings in the social work field. Her first job after she graduated was as a PRP (Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program) counselor for a private practice in Prince George’s County. She completed intakes for PRP clients and worked with them by using therapeutic techniques and counseling while they were participating in therapy. After she left that position, she continued in the community mental health setting by working as a Community Support Worker in the DC metropolitan area. Her clients were also participating in therapy and she would work with them in the community with daily activities and sometimes school comorbid with their mental health diagnosis. After that, she worked in a group home and diagnostic unit with children who were either in Maryland social services and/or juvenile justice system. She assisted with life skills, medication management, and counseling. There were many sex trafficking victims in the diagnostic unit. This is one of the reasons she wanted to get into social work; to help victims and help law enforcement with those types of cases. She later left that position, and went to work for the Department of Juvenile Services in MD. She worked as a juvenile probation officer in Maryland. She has worked with young adults but mostly juvenile offenders. She provided therapeutic interventions and referred clients and/or their families to community based resources and inpatient programs (substance abuse, behavior modification, residential treatment centers, etc.). She has also completed assessments to determine the best and appropriate treatment for the offender while on probation. She has experience and knowledge with courtroom etiquette, composing court memorandums for the court (judges, attorneys, and clerks), monitoring offenders while they are on probation; making sure they complete their probation conditions and inputting case notes into a database. After those 2 years, she worked with the homeless and formerly homeless population in Washington, DC. Although she knew about community based and evidence based practices, working with this population really put a perspective on social justice and injustices and also how Black social workers are needed in the Black communities for advocacy.
After all that experience, people thought she had already received my masters. She has worked in every aspect of social work with the exception of gerontology and in the hospital setting. In her undergraduate studies at Bowie State University, she completed research where students examined cognitive behavior through executive functioning and who it affects The Big Five personality factors. She was fortunate enough to present this study in Ocean City, MD. She also has experience, from completing my practicum at Bowie State University, in counseling in the educational setting. She completed her practicum at an elementary school under the guidance of the school counselor. She participated in IEP and 504 plan meetings to discuss students progress in school and if they needed any community and in-home services.
Although many of her experiences and knowledge resembles the psychological aspect, she has advocated a lot for populations in need, by providing referrals and recommendations to community based mental health treatment, substance abuse, employment opportunities, and recommendations for benefits (TANF, food stamps, court proceedings). As a future social worker, she knows that social justice advocacy is important for populations in need. She believes everyone needs mental health resources especially during these crazy times. She also believes and stands by the African American community and mental health. It always seems like a taboo for Black people to discuss their feelings to a therapist or counselor. She believes it's beneficial and encouraging to see Black mental health professionals providing these services to the Black community. We can empower and promote Black excellence through mental health and case management/community advocacy.