Social Worker Advocates For At Risk Baltimore Youth

Robi Rawl is a social worker and health care advocate who is also the executive director of a new statewide coalition known as Sugar Free Kids Maryland, established to address the twin epidemics of childhood obesity and teen diabetes.

(Photo Courtesy of Robi Rawl)

(Photo Courtesy of Nick DiMarco)

Rawl has a diverse educational resume. She has a B.A. in anthropology and art history from the University of Maryland, College Park and a masters in social work (M.S.W.) from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She also completed varied studies in Spain, Brazil, and Nigeria.

What inspired you to enter social work and to get involved with health care advocacy?

“My service as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa made me realize I wanted a greater role in the community and in working alongside community members to solve challenges that affected everyone’s lives.”

“Urban Baltimore was not so different from many rural communities in South Africa. While our country has every service and advantage, large underdeveloped and disadvantaged pockets are left behind, completely inaccessible and often ignored.”

How does your educational background relate to your current role?

“During my time at the School of Social Work, I honed the skills developed while teaching and during my time in the Peace Corps: analytical, problem-solving and communication skills, my ability to teach and reach a variety of audiences, and my experience living and working within diverse communities.”

“I also worked closely within two coalitions, at all levels of policy work: community organizing, advocacy, management, education and outreach.”

How has your education helped to further your career and contributed to your success?

“My opportunities from the School of Social Work have provided the foundation for the work I do today. My career path and education have followed my interests and my passion. Every day gives me the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of my neighbors and our communities.”

What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into health care advocacy? 

“A social worker is far more than the stereotypical clinician; social workers are change-makers at all levels. We are academics, teachers, supporters, politicians, managers, communicators, facilitators, and problem solvers. Don’t sell yourself short. We all bring valuable experiences and skills. Be willing to listen and learn about social work opportunities.”

Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.

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