Alex Elkins Is Pursuing an MSW Degree and Working in a Groundbreaking Program

by Billy Chandler

Alex Elkins wants us to learn a new word today: decarceration.

Alex is pursuing a master’s in social work degree from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York. Part of the program requires her to be placed in a variety of programs to get some real-world experience, and she is currently working at the Center for Justice Innovation in the felony alternatives to incarceration program. In short, this is a program offering alternatives to incarceration – or decarceration.

Alex says this program in Manhattan is the first in the country, and it is aimed more at growth opportunities than punishment. Even in the short time she’s been working there, she has seen successes – and her face beams while talking about one of the “graduates” of the program who has been able to forego prison time and is now working in a meaningful job and moving in a positive direction.

Alternatives often include things like identifying mental health programming, helping someone find a job, helping them establish a positive social network, and being an advocate for the person who has gotten in trouble. Alex enjoys being a personal cheerleader for the people who are now trying hard to get their lives worked out.

Social work wasn’t Alex’s first career goal. She was a theatre major at Emory & Henry, but when the pandemic shut down theatres around the world, she considered that she might want to move into a new direction. “I had always been interested in programs that offered help to people, so social work seemed like the right move.”

But she hasn’t given up on the arts, and she has recently really been enjoying a class in using the arts in social work. “The class is about using the arts in a way that helps social workers keep their own mental health strong, but also about how to use art in working with our clients.”

She is also in a location where she can easily consume art. “I go to the Met every couple of weeks, I go to Broadway shows, sometimes there’s a band on the subway!” And, one of her favorite artistic expressions is in making playlists on a given topic.

You can enjoy a lively conversation with Alex on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1592-tracey-reed-will-do-almost-anything-to-get-your"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.webp 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.jpg 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.jpg" alt="Tracey Reed, E&H Class of 1998, recently put some underwear on her head to promote the day's story time theme: books about under..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,201,720,921/9261_tracey_reed.rev.1610382816.jpg 2x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="720" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1592-tracey-reed-will-do-almost-anything-to-get-your">Tracey Reed Will Do Almost Anything to Get Your Kids to Read</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Wearing underwear on her head is just part of the fun of her work. <a href="/live/news/1592-tracey-reed-will-do-almost-anything-to-get-your" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3603-alan-hardwick-has-authored-a-book-on-a-true-and"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.jpg" alt="Alan Hardwick E&H Class of 1985" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,135,1536,1671/16008_pro-qvfQ4Bi4.rev.1717505559.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1536" data-max-h="1536" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3603-alan-hardwick-has-authored-a-book-on-a-true-and">Alan Hardwick Has Authored a Book on a True and Amazing Story</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Alan Hardwick was working as a yacht broker when a feeble elderly man wandered into the store and said he wanted to buy a sailboat. </p><a href="/live/news/3603-alan-hardwick-has-authored-a-book-on-a-true-and" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/939-first-bank-trust-announces-new-leadership"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,22,255,277/6745_Mark_Nelson.rev.1566933092.webp 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,22,255,277/6745_Mark_Nelson.rev.1566933092.jpg 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,22,255,277/6745_Mark_Nelson.rev.1566933092.jpg" alt="Mark Nelson, E&H Class of 1984" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="255" data-max-h="255" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/939-first-bank-trust-announces-new-leadership">First Bank & Trust Announces New Leadership</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> E&H Grads Transition to Top Positions at FB&T <a href="/live/news/939-first-bank-trust-announces-new-leadership" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>