Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center Social Workers attend 2024 Siemer Institute Summit

Social workers Brenda Armstrong Clark and Theresa Hill from the Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center (BLEC) attended the recently held Annual Siemer Institute Summit in Columbus, Ohio, joining over 350 participants from across the nation whose organizations focus on implementing family stability initiatives.

The institute was open to Siemer partners who have implemented Two-Generation Approach programs and allowed attendees to connect with other organizations committed to improving the services their organizations provide to the community.  Barbara Siemer, founder and board chair of the Siemer Institute helped the institute get off to an exciting and promising start.

“The institute was an enlightening experience,” said Clark, who serves as a licensed social worker at the BLEC.  “It helped to sharpen our knowledge of family stability. We also were exposed to the latest innovations and insights about sustaining family stability.”

For over a decade, the Siemer Institute has been dedicated to helping families in need across the United States achieve greater housing stability and enhance their children’s educational prospects. At the heart of its mission is the commitment to a two-generation (2Gen) approach that addresses the needs of parents or caregivers and children simultaneously while promoting holistic family support.

Through partnerships with community organizations, they implement 2Gen programs that are centered on keeping children in their schools and preventing unplanned moves. This approach ensures that families receive the comprehensive support they need to thrive.

Hill, who also serves as a social worker at the BLEC, found the institute to be equally rewarding and met all expectations.

“We were able to meet influencers and experts on family stability,” Hill said. “And we made new professional contacts. We left the institute re-energized about our roles in enhancing family stability in the communities we serve.”

Dr. Matthew Desmond, the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University of Princeton, N. J., and principal investigator of The Eviction Lab, gave the keynote address.

Dr. Desmond’s address centered on the issue of poverty and its complexities, as well as national-level initiatives designed to eradicate power in America. His books titled “Poverty, By America”and “Evicted” have helped others understand poverty in America and have contributed to the dialogue on poverty and answered the question “Why is there so much poverty in America?”

He said that a key solution to eradicate poverty is to “invest in families, rebalance the safety net, empower the poor by reining in exploitation, and build inclusive open communities.”

During the two-day institute, participants had the opportunity to attend various sessions including: “Lessons From The Field: Milwaukee after Evicted;” “The Right to Counsel;” “Family Centered Coaching;” “Using Data for Impactful Story Telling;” “Guaranteed Income;” and “Economic Mobility.”    

“We are pleased that BLEC allowed us to attend this important event to enhance our professional growth and development,” Clark said. “We will be forever grateful.”

For more information about the BLEC’s Siemer Institute services, please get in touch with Mrs. Theresa Hill, social worker, at (803) 744-7949 or via email at [email protected]

Pictured: Brenda Armstrong Clark, MSW & LMSW and Theresa Hill, MSW