Mighty Blog

Celebrating Social Work Month 2023 

March is Social Work Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the incredible work social workers do every day for patients and families. The theme for this year’s Social Work Month is, “Social Work Breaks Barriers.” Read the proclamation signed by Dr. Marc Gorelick, Children’s Minnesota president and CEO, to learn more about this year’s theme.  

To celebrate Social Work Month, we’re highlighting some of our own social workers at Children’s Minnesota: Stevie Lien, MSW, LICSW, cardiovascular care center social worker at Children’s Minnesota – Minneapolis, Mia Guidarelli, MSW, LGSW, after-hours social work at Children’s Minnesota – St. Paul and Molly Clarke, MSW, LGSW, behavioral health/emergency department social worker at Children’s Minnesota – Minneapolis. 

                   Stevie Lein

                  Mia Guidarelli

                  Molly Clarke

Get to know Stevie, Mia, and Molly! 

Stevie Lien: I had always had an interest in working within the hospital setting, but not specifically in the medical field. I was in the last year of my master’s program and applying for my clinical internship when I came upon the opportunity to explore my interest in hospital social work. I was offered an internship at Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul and fell in love with the role of hospital social work. I spent four years after graduation at another hospital, but knew Children’s Minnesota was always my “end game.” Honestly, I had never expected to work with children; however, there is just something special about a medical facility that is focused specifically on children and their families. I also found a passion in supporting and advocating for children and their families during one of the most difficult times of their lives. It truly feels like you can make a difference.  

Mia Guidarelli: I decided to work at Children’s Minnesota because the schedule allows me to prioritize time with my family, while also getting to work as a clinical social worker. I always grew up thinking Children’s Minnesota was the most cutting-edge hospital, and I wanted to be part of an organization that was innovative and committed to providing the best care for children.  

Molly Clarke: I started at Children’s Minnesota as an intern when I was in graduate school on the medical surgical unit in Minneapolis. Based on my positive, enriching experience as an intern, I decided to continue my time at Children’s Minnesota as an employee. The social work department is a great group of individuals to work alongside. 

Stevie Lien: When I think of “breaking barriers” I think of equity and how everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. In my specific role, it is helping families navigate a system (the hospital) that they had never imagined being so entwined in. I also help with connecting families to county, state, and federal systems such as insurance, SSI, waivers, housing, etc. A lot of families are immigrants with English as a second language, which adds another layer of complexity in trying to navigate our country’s systems that are in place and not always “user friendly.” I really see social workers as “bulldozers” breaking down walls to ensure those who need additional resources are able to access them. 

Mia Guidarelli: I’ve worked in a variety of systems ranging from county systems such as juvenile probation and child protection to public schools, non-profits and hospitals. In every system I’ve worked in, the primary barrier that my clients/patients faced were the biases held by the workers in the systems. To me the theme, “social work breaks barriers,” means that my job is to act as a catalyst for change in the systems I work in. My goal as a social worker is to create environments where all people are treated with dignity and respect. 

Molly Clarke: Social workers can break barriers through challenging and addressing social injustices and inequities that exist and persist within systems. Such barriers reduce access and allocation of needed resources, connections and services that all individuals and communities should have to thrive.

Stevie Lien: My favorite part of my job is seeing our newborn babies discharge home with their families for the first time. The cardiovascular care center (CVCC) has a lot of patients who are born and require surgery within a few days of life, which means they spend their first weeks to months in the hospital and not surrounded by their biological families at home. It is so heartwarming to witness the moments when families can finally be together after being a part for so long and for staff on the unit to be so excited about this unification. Let me tell you, there are definitely celebrations, huge smiles, and lots of happy tears shed in these moments. 

Mia Guidarelli: My favorite part of my job is working with my team of passionate social workers. Each day I continue to learn and grown from my colleagues and feel lucky to work beside them. 

Molly Clarke: I like that every day is different, and I have the opportunity to bring forward social work ethics and values to a multidisciplinary team. 

Stevie Lien: Social workers are multifaceted and fit into whatever role we need to be in that moment. We are not just the stereotype of “taking children away” or giving out parking passes. We are here every day as an advocate, a resource broker, a shoulder to try on, someone to laugh with, and a person who is able to engage with a child when parents are not able to be at bedside as often as they would like to be. In summary, I like to tell people that I am a support to patients and families during some of their most difficult moments. 

Mia Guidarelli: Social work is a profession that works on a variety of service levels: individually with families, community based, and at a policy level. My role as a social worker does not start and end at Children’s Minnesota. Outside of Children’s Minnesota, I continue to work in my community where I run a weekly group for teenagers and also work to advocate for increased mental health supports. 

Molly Clarke: Behavioral health and the emergency department are fast paced. We do and advocate for what we can while working in a mental health system with barriers and restrictions including lack of facilities, services, and resources for children and adolescents with mental health support needs. 

Please join us in celebrating and thanking all of our social workers at Children’s Minnesota! 

Mai Songsawatwong