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“[Y]our story is important, and don’t lose your story while you’re doing your work. It is important no matter where you come from.”

Carlos Velazquez, MSW

The recent uptick in interest in macro–social work issues and practice are an encouraging sign that the profession is living out its commitment to the person-in-environment approach. For many in the field however, opportunities to use their social work skill sets beyond clinical and person-centered practices remain a challenge. If you are drawn to macro-level thinking and practice and wondering how you could apply your skills and make a living, today’s guest has a story for you.

In this episode, our guest Carlos Velazquez shares his personal and professional journey which began with an attraction to the profession, working at the macro level, and led to leadership positions including his current role as Executive Director of the NYC Police Athletic League (PAL). He will also discuss how social workers need to think beyond traditional career paths and employment settings to get the work done.

The PAL is the largest independent youth development not-for-profit organization in the nation’s most populous city. It provides a variety of supportive programs over twenty-seven sites and serves over twenty-thousand underprivileged children.

Carlos Velazquez, PAL Executive Director

Carlos Velazquez, MSW, is Executive Director of the Police Athletic League (PAL) in New York City. He has more than 20 years in public service, focused on improving outcomes for young people in NYC’s underserved communities. Velazquez previously served as Chief Program Officer for the Boys’ Club of New York and, before that was Clubhouse Director, taking on programs and services ranging from academics and physical education to mental health. Other positions he has held include Community School Director at Center for Supportive Schools and National Director of College Success for Let’s Get Ready. Velazquez earned a commendation from the New York City Comptroller’s Office, the 2018 Community Service Award from the FDNY Hispanic Society, and the 2011 PASEsetter Award from the Partnership for After School Education.

Velazquez, a native of East Harlem, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Syracuse University’s College of Human Services and Health Professions. He also holds a Master of Education from Bank Street College of Education, and a certificate for Developing Leaders from Columbia University.

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