A moment etched into my memory which frequently surfaces to drive my passion, a well-intentioned mentor responded to my eagerness to pursue my future ambitions with, “You’re wasting your brain if you go into the field of social work. Why not go into the field of medicine like you had always planned?” Choosing social work was not in spite of this, but under the pretenses that it will take innovative solutions to propel change in recurring social issues. I do not desire to simply take part in this change, but to use my particular gifts and talents to inspire exponential growth.
There was a natural calling on my life to be a helping professional, I feel as though we have a responsibility to our community as well as the vulnerable populations who reside within it. Social work for me is about justice, the greater good and helping those in need.
The KY Guardianship Association is proud to announce the establishment of the John Reginald “Reg” White Scholarship. A native of Vine Grove, KY, Reg was a 1976 graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Social Work. Upon graduation, he worked in institutional community settings serving individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. His career in public service with Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services included working in the social work department at Eastern State Hospital, the public guardianship program, and the statewide adult protection and guardianship services branch.
His focus was always client oriented, and his advocacy for vulnerable adults and children was tireless. Individuals who were privileged to work with him were inspired by his dedication, empathy, and most of all, his humor. Many of those Reg served viewed him as a close personal friend, someone who listened and went out of his way to see that needs were met. Reg retired from state service in July of 2008 and within a month of his retirement, he died from cancer.
Reg’s entire personal career was dedicated to service and protection of vulnerable adults in Kentucky. He often expressed concern for the lack of support for students whose chosen career path was serving vulnerable adults. Reg was a founding member of the Kentucky Guardianship Association, Inc. It is with great pride that we name this scholarship in his honor and present this award to students who choose to work with adults.
At this time we are awarding a scholarship for the spring and fall semesters of each academic year. The spring semester award is open to any undergraduate Social Work student at an accredited University in the state of Kentucky. The fall award is only open to Social Work undergraduates at the University of Kentucky, Reg’s alma mater. Criteria for application for the award is available on our website.
The first scholarship was awarded for the Spring Semester of 2010 to UK Social Work student, Angela DeFebbo. Angela went on to the University Of Louisville to work on her Masters of Social Work degree. The recipient of the Fall 2010 scholarship,was Sara McCullough, also from the University of Kentucky. Her career goal is to work with vulnerable adults in long term care settings.