PLAN of MARI National Social Workers’ Month Highlight – Jean Brisson

National Social Workers’ Month Highlight – Jean Brisson

Date posted: April 4, 2023

This past March marked the 60th year of celebrating National Social Work Month across the country. The roots of this effort lie in early efforts by social workers to draw attention to the critical role they play in helping people, especially those who have been marginalized by society or who live with disabilities and other serious medical conditions. Social workers often make up the glue holding together communities and families who find themselves dealing with these economic, social, and physical challenges. At PLAN, we have always worked closely with our team of social workers to enrich the lives of beneficiaries.

Formally known as Service Coordinators here, social workers are integral to our vision and our mission. They help us forge stronger connections with our beneficiaries, build a better understanding of their daily lives and needs, and generally help improve their quality of life. Indeed, creating plans for their funds and protecting access to their benefits is just a part of the work that our social workers perform.

Today, we are recognizing the contributions of Jean Brisson, LSW, who has been working with PLAN since 2014. Jean began her relationship with PLAN in a consulting role, connecting with and aiding our beneficiaries and service coordinators in the Western and Northern Central Massachusetts Region. Over several years, her work became so fully integrated with the rest of PLAN that she joined in a full-time capacity as a service coordinator.

Jean’s passion for helping people with disabilities and those most in need of support extends beyond her professional capacity; in fact, for many years she has fostered adults with learning and developmental disabilities in her own home.

Jean noted some of the aspects of the social work role that she found most compelling and important over her 9 years working with PLAN:

“I think it’s a wonderful thing because service coordinators certainly have a different rapport, different skills, and experience interacting with people and meeting them where they are, whereas a financial advisor may not quite have that same skill set.

When we share those skills and experiences with people, they really appreciate it. There are some people who really have nobody else, and so they require a different level of intervention, a different level of assistance and support. Each of us works with a few people like that in our caseload, the folks who require a higher level of support.”

It’s so critical for social workers to be able to assess and adapt to the myriad of challenges faced by adults living with disabilities, often compounded by a lack of access to services and opportunities. Understanding that diversity of experiences, capabilities, and obstacles is one of the most important skills that social workers can develop. We are immensely proud of the hard work that’s done by our team and by experienced, compassionate professionals like Jean.

There’s simply no way we could successfully execute our mission without their contributions, hard work, and experience.