Casey Mackey, a graduate of the NC State Department of Social Work’s BSW Program (Class of 2015) was interviewed for our 2017 annual newsletter alumni highlight. Mackey, originally from Reidsville, NC, currently resides in Raleigh, NC where he works for the Hope Center at Pullen as a Transition Specialist. There, he provides case management services to assist young adults ages 18 – 24 who have aged out of the foster care system in Wake County to ensure that they make a successful transition from the foster care system into adulthood. He also works with a community collaborative under the guidance of the United Way of the Greater Triangle. This collaborative serves to to assist parents and families to prevent and end cycles of involvement with Child Protective Services.
Mackey was recently accepted into the Department of Social Work at NC State’s Traditional MSW Program and will be rejoining us in fall 2017 to pursue his degree.
What drew you to social work?
My interest in social work started as a graduating senior in high school. Before I made my decision to switch into social work, I aspired to pursue a career in education as a high school math teacher. I always wanted to be a coach whether it was football, basketball or track. I always enjoyed assisting youth to strive for greatness and accomplish their dreams. I thought teaching would provide that avenue to make that dream a reality. In addition, I excelled in math so I thought that it would be an excellent career path. However, the more I thought about how I wanted to impact youth in my community, the more I started to realize that the reach of a teacher was limited. I wanted to be able to assist youth on a much wider scale than just in the field of education or on an athletic field. I finally decided to pursue social work after a conversation I had with my social worker during one of my home visits. That conversation not only lead me to pursue a career in social work, but also focused my passion on youth in the foster care system.
How did your passion for helping youth in your community inspire you to become a social worker?
My inspiration for working in the field of social work comes from my experience growing up in the foster care system of NC and passion for working with youth. My goal is to help improve the foster care system through utilizing my unique perspective and experience both as a child growing up in the NC foster care system as well as social worker. I want to accomplish this by being and advocate for youth in the foster care system as well as promote improvements in relationships between foster parents and youth in care. Ultimately, I want to serve as a role model to those youth in the foster care system and let them know that they can accomplish their dreams.
Why did you choose NC State?
I chose NC State because I was intrigued by their campus life. NC State offered a lot of opportunities that allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and explore the world around me. What I did not expect from NC State was the amount of genuine support from faculty and staff. Being a part of NC State is like being a part of a huge family. The Department of Social Work is a great example of this. Through the support of my professors, I was able to start a campus organization as well as develop into a great leader.
Talk about your field experience at NC State: Where did you complete your practicum?
I completed my field practicum with the Wake County Human Services Links Program. As an intern, I was the assistant Links Coordinator and assisted with facilitating and organizing weekly life skills training to teenagers in foster care ages 13 – 21. I thoroughly enjoyed working at this agency. During my time there, I was able to connect with some tremendous teenagers as well as organize a summer Trip to Kings Dominion. The best part was definitely working directly with the youth. My connections from my internship with the Links Program allowed me to get my current job working with the Hope Center right after graduating from the BSW Program at NC State.
What have you done since graduating?
Since Graduating, I have been working at the hope center. I also continue to participate in the links program. I have been honored with the opportunity to be on the Wake County Human Services Committee Board as well as participate in SaySo, a self-advocacy group for youth who are in foster care system of NC.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to attain my Masters in Social Work at NC State, then either pursue my LCSW or get a Masters in Divinity. Ultimately, I want to continue to create a legacy of being an advocate for youth and help those youth achieve their dreams.