2007 Award Winners
Congratulations to our 2007 State Award Winners: Robert Kafes, Lifetime Achievement Award; Marsha Drozdoff, Social Worker of the Year; and Leah Landrum Taylor, Public Official of the Year. These exceptional award winners were honored at our state conference held Oct. 18, 2007. We thank them for their tireless efforts in serving our communities.
Here are some excerpts from the essays by Robert Kafes and Marsha Drozdoff and a short biography about Leah Landrum Taylor:
Robert Kafes - Lifetime Achiement Award
In my forty-two years as a social worker, I am most proud of the educational program we created for Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern Arizona: THE INSITUTE OF CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR HUMAN SERVICE PROFESSIONALS (ICE). I use the pronoun "we” because nothing in social work is achieved single-handedly. No one works alone. We do what we do through relationship. In social work, all accomplishments are made by people, with people, for people. The birth and development of this institute is a living and lively example of a ripple effect on many levels.
For several years, I often spoke with a colleague about my passion for advanced education for people in social service, and my idea that we had a lot of professional talent in our community, and a community full of hungry learners. My colleague, who had grant writing experience and thankfully did not get fed up from my bending her ear, picked up on my persistence. Putting my words (sometimes bordering on rants!) into action, she responded to a request for proposals from the Southern Arizona Jewish Community Foundation to fund my dream.
Marsha Drozdoff - Social Worker of the Year
An accomplishment that I am most proud of is ‘integrating Reiki into Oncology care’. When I was first introduced to Reiki thru the U of A Integrated Medicine program, it was to address my own healing difficulties; I never planned on using it with clients or within my clinical practice. As I regained my health and I gained increased understanding about the benefits of Reiki, it became ethically impossible not to offer a modality that could relieve stress and enhance wellness. My medical team primarily in Radiation Oncology supported my decision to utilize Reiki with specific patients or family members depending upon my clinical assessment; staff too received Reiki upon request to address specific physical or emotional concerns.
Besides providing Reiki to clients, I also have worked to coordinate a Reiki volunteer program on our in-pt BMT program. In 2004, I presented at the AOSW annual conference in Washington DC on ‘Incorporating Reiki into Oncology Care’. Since that time, I have completed my Certified Reiki Master Teacher program and received 2 grants thru the S Arizona Affiliate of the Susan G Komen Foundation (Race for the Cure).
The grant in 2006 was to teach minority (and non minority) women with Breast Cancer Reiki for stress reduction and relaxation; one class was with women from the Pascua Yaqui nation and one was a class given in Spanish in Nogales, Arizona with Hispanic women with Breast Cancer The 2007 grant is to teach family members of women with Breast Cancer Reiki to enhance communication and intimacy; the program this grant year will include classes with spouses/partners, young adult children ages 18-24 of Breast Cancer survivors, couples, and non-spouse/partner family caregivers.
Leah Landrum Taylor - Public Elected Official of the Year
The Honorable Leah Landrum Taylor currently represents District 16 in the State Senate. A native Phoenician, Leah received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Arizona State University’s Political Science program, and upon graduation, worked for the city of Phoenix in public relations. In the senate, and previously in the house, she has championed for causes such as foster care and adoption services, healthcare, education and election reform. Her dedication in ensuring a safe and clean environment for Phoenix residents has made Leah popular with her constituents.
In 2002, her bill (H2622), which required companies to keep records of hazardous materials onsite, became a law. Leah also sponsors Arizona African Day at the legislature, is an adjunct professor at Maricopa Community College and stands as the senior advisor for the Arizona Children’s Association. She is the founder and vice president of the Landrum Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support for students and prepares them for post-secondary education.
In 2003, she was recognized by the Democratic Leadership Council as one of the top 100 elected officials to watch. Her efforts also have been recognized locally. For her work representing the local community and dedication to public safety, Leah is being awarded the Elected Public Official of the Year award for 2007.
State Awards 2006
Please join us in congratulating the following people for their contributions to this state and to their community. The world is a better place because of them.
Mary Ann Masters
Social Worker of the Year
Public Elected Official of the Year
Public Citizen of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Award