Social work senior goes ‘above and beyond’

Kara McIntyre

Charles Staats Jr., social work senior, earned a $250 scholarship from the Social Workers Acting Together organization for his hard work and dedication. Photo contributed by LeaAnn Reyes

Charles Staats Jr., social work senior, has plenty to do — full-time job, schoolwork, president of Phi Alpha, the social work honor society, and an internship — but he still volunteered to be co-coordinator of Social Work Month.

Staats said the planning and coordinating was a nonstop process. He laughed loudly and said it took “too many hours,” but he was honored to have the opportunity.

“I felt privileged and honored to be part of that [Social Work Month], but it wouldn’t have been possible without the other social work students and members of SWAT [Social Workers Acting Together],” Staats said. “We wanted to raise awareness about what social workers actually do. We’re not ‘baby snatchers’ — it’s so much more than that.”

SWAT is open to all social work majors. The organization’s members participate in fundraisers and volunteer at events and activities in the Wichita Falls community.

Staats earned a $250 scholarship from SWAT for his outstanding leadership and dedication as a member. This is the second annual SWAT scholarship to a SWAT member who has exemplified outstanding leadership skills.

“Charles is one of the most hardworking, compassionate, kindest students. He really goes above and beyond,” LeaAnn Reyes, future president of SWAT, said. “He is one of the most authentic people you will ever meet and he is incredibly humble.”

When his name was called, Staats said he was surprised about winning the scholarship.

“I felt very honored and surprised. I’m not the type of person to go out of my way to get recognition,” Staats said. “I’m a competitive person, don’t get me wrong, but my intentions are not to win.”

In addition to serving as Phi Alpha president and co-coordinator of Social Work Month, Staats led the social work anti-bullying campaign for the past two years by taking the message to the Boys and Girls Club, along with several schools in the Wichita Falls and Iowa Park School District. He also arranged and set up events at Faith Refuge and Faith Mission for SWAT to serve meals to the clients, and helped plan the Social Work Symposium.

“[The scholarship] gives incentive not just to work hard, but get involved as well,” Staats said. “I just felt honored and taken aback.”