Claudia Santana ’14 is a case manager at Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington.

The Bachelor of Social Work graduate works with the local homeless population in McLean County. Her goal is to assist her clients in attaining self-sufficiency with a careful, individualized approach.

Why did you decide to be a social work major?

“I wanted to help people.” My classmates and I always joked about this answer. Even though it has some truth, there were many other reasons each of us chose social work. My reason was that a childhood experience changed my life. The social worker involved gave me no support, no hope, and betrayed my trust. I didn’t want others who need social workers to have the same experience I feel like I did.

What about your job gives you the greatest professional satisfaction?

This position really lets me utilize the skills that Illinois State University’s School of Social Work taught me. I get to learn something new every day and grow as a professional with the help of my co-workers. I feel lucky and proud to work for Home Sweet Home Ministries, as this is an agency that cares about their clients and their workers.

What is the personal satisfaction?

The personal satisfaction I get from this job is working with clients one on one. As a case manager I help them set up goals, and it is great to see some of the clients working so hard on achieving those goals. Being able to provide them with hope and sometimes a prayer is a wonderful thing for me.

Is this current position what you planned to be doing?

I was unsure on what I was doing after graduating. I am originally from the Northwest Suburbs and didn’t think of staying in Bloomington. I started as a part-time residential associate in January, got promoted to full time, then residential associate coordinator, and a case manager position opened up and it is what I wanted to do. I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to be able to obtain the position I wanted shortly after graduating.

What are your future plans?

My future professional plans are going to grad school and obtain my M.S.W. I am unsure still about which concentration I would choose. This is why I am taking some time to get on the field experience.