Congratulations to graduate students Allie Riley (center), Aidyn Iachini (left), and Annahita Ball who were awarded first place in the student poster presentation contest at the NASW Ohio Conference on October 29, 2009. Their poster was entitled Social Work Practice with Children: A Sport-Based Intervention. The students completed the project under the guidance of faculty advisor Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher. The students would like to acknowledge Becky Wade-Mdivanian and Dr. Jerry Davis, who were also an integral part of this entire project and evaluation.
The research presented at the conference examined the impact of The National Youth Sport Program (LiFE Sports), an innovative youth development initiative in sport and recreation operated at Ohio State University. The study’s purpose was twofold: 1) to understand key outcomes from youth participation in The Ohio State University’s NYSP and 2) to gain an understanding of program strengths and areas for improvement.
Findings were particularly relevant for practice and policy as social workers often include sport- and recreation-based interventions in their practice. The inclusion of programs such as NYSP in the broad scope of social work practice could further reduce youth’s risk factors and enhance protective factors. These programs may offer social workers additional strategies to target the development of social competence and other protective factors. Moreover, the potential for partnerships between such sport and recreation programs and other social work practice areas offer further opportunity for social workers to address youth’s social and emotional needs.
Riley (BA, MS) is a second year student in the joint MSW/PhD program in the College of Social Work. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Virginia in 2005 and her master’s degree at Purdue University in sport and exercise psychology in 2008. She is originally from Hampton, Virginia. Riley’s research interests include positive youth development in sport, recreation, and other social settings. She is currently a joint Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) supporting a partnership between Ohio State’s Department of Athletics and the College of Social Work. Her role includes the development, design, and evaluation of LiFE Sports, a sport-based youth development program operated at the university.
“Participating in this poster session helped me tie my interests in sport and youth development to my work in the social work field,” said Riley.
Iachini (BA, MA, PhD) received her PhD in Sport and Exercise Management in August 2008. Currently, she is an MSW student with a school social work concentration. She is originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Her research interests include positive youth development, school-family-community partnerships, and youth sport and recreation. She has experience working in the non-profit sector and has served as a GRA with Anderson-Butcher for five years on a variety of research projects including the P-12 Afterschool and Summer Programming Committee, the Ohio Community Collaboration Model for School Improvement, the U.S. Department of Education Mental Health Education Integration Grant, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Technical Assistance Grant. Currently, she is the GRA for a funded project from the Ohio Department of Education called the Family and Civic Engagement Initiative.
“It was exciting to develop this poster and receive such wonderful feedback and interest regarding the implications of sport for the field of social work,” said Iachini.
Ball (BA, MSW, LSW) is currently a second year doctoral student in the College of Social Work. Her research interests include school social work, expanded school mental health, and comprehensive school improvement. She has served as a GRA with Anderson-Butcher for four years, functioning in various research roles including innovative parent engagement programming with the P-12 Afterschool and Summer Programming Committee; funded projects from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Ohio Department of Education; and the Mental Health Education Integration Consortium (MHEDIC). Prior to her current position, Ball has held social work internships in Reynoldsburg City Schools and Detroit Public Schools.
“It was an honor for us to be selected to participate in the first student poster session at the NASW-OH regional conference,” adds Ball. “It was especially helpful to consider future implications for the program as we developed the poster.”