As a Corporate Outpatient Director for Gaudenzia, Andrew Schmitt, LCSW, plays an integral role in program development and fiscal development across Gaudenzia’s four regions, with one example being the implementation of telehealth services for the Harrisburg Outpatient program. But, he says, it’s the experiences from earlier in his career, such as working in direct services with adolescent outpatients, that helped get him to where he is today. We sat down with Andrew recently to learn what connects him to social work.
What sparked your initial interest in social work?
Essentially the driving force was the cliché of really wanting to help people. I eventually fell into counseling as an undergraduate, and in my senior year of college, I had the good fortune of connecting with a couple of professors who, from their guidance, inspired me to go straight into graduate school. From there, I was very fortunate to have a phenomenal internship at an outpatient program that focused on adolescents and intensive outpatient services, and that really gave me almost an unfair advantage in terms of being able to experience that and continue working in the field.
What does social work mean to you?
To me, being a social worker gives you an unlimited opportunity to positively impact someone’s life. We’ve come into contact with so many individuals in need. You almost have to go out of your way to not be able to help someone every day. One of the things I always really enjoyed was running group sessions, because individuals can sit and be completely silent during the entire session and still have their lives changed…just by listening to someone else and really feeling the group dynamic. Being able to play some role in that or being able to experience that with people is an amazing gift.
Which social value resonates most with you?
To me, it’s dignity. The willingness or capacity to lend a hand so that someone can get back on their feet and then go and walk themselves is just, in my mind, what makes working in this field so rewarding. There’s a million different positions that are incredibly rewarding and benefit society as a whole. I just don’t know if there’s too many fields where every day there can be five … 10 … 20 different opportunities you have to either subtly or significantly shape someone’s life.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy exercising. I do my best to stay in shape. I like to read as well.