Maria Beam: Social Work Internships in Times of COVID

Director of Social Work, Maria Beam is responding to this global pandemic by working with the MyCovidResponse team in creating opportunities for students to volunteer.

Jennifer Lucarelli and Diane Baldwin connected with Maria to work on a project that sought to support adults during times of isolation around their social and emotional well-being. Social support well-being phone calls first launched in May and the work is still continuing despite lifting stay-at-home restrictions. Students who participate in well-being calls are mostly med students but also include senior social work students.

When individuals connect with a MyCovidResponse case manager and a social support need is requested, Maria is notified. Next she pairs student volunteers with an individual who is requesting a well-being call. Students are trained on basic skills of engagement , empathy, and interviewing. Students who are assigned phone calls will continue to make those phone calls until the individual no longer needs or requests them.

Maria Beam is also working with the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry on Oakland University campus. The pantry just recently opened for the people who are in need of food, but during the stay-at-home order, she and others were making food deliveries throughout the community.

“During the pandemic I have been working with MyCovidResponse, trying to help them as much as I can and continue to work and take care of my family, she said. “I am touched by the amount of support and generosity I see in the community. People are giving of their time and energy to help those in need–whether it is delivering food, making phone calls, tutoring children, the outpour of support is touching. As this global pandemic continues, Maria thinks about the ongoing needs of our community. “Which is why our work is so important,” she adds.

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