Analysis Assignment Professor: Virge Luce December 15, 2017






Analysis of Presbyterian Senior Services and My New Role


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NYU Silver School
of Social Work

Introduction to
Social Work Education & Practice in the United States

 Final Assignment








Professor: Virge

December 15, 2017




I. Introduction

This paper is
mainly focus on the analysis of the Presbyterian Senior Service(PSS) and the
comparison between China and the United State. Based on the previous visit to the
PSS and group presentation, I have a comprehensive understanding of this
agency. It is an outstanding and typical social work agency in New York, which provides
various programs and direct services to the elderly and children. We can have a
better understanding of the agency’s structure, mission, purpose, funding, and
programs. Besides, social workers who work with individuals, families, and
groups of people play an important role in PPS agency. They are very
professional and helpful. They help grandparents and children to solve and cope
with problems they faced. Their role is to provide support and
improve their lives.

 In New York, there are
approximately 300,000 children raising by grandparent (New York State Kincare
Coalition, 2010). Data form U.S. Census Bureau (2015) indicate that there are nearly
2.7 million grandparents raising 4.5 million children under age 18 in the
United States (Renee R. Ellis Simmons, 2012). As grandparents, they
are sometimes overwhelming when raising grandchild because their economic and physical
condition. Most of them are lack of a steady stream of income. Grandparents who
are raising their grandchildren have a risk of living below the poverty level.

So, we need to concern about the population of grandparents and their
grandchildren, and PSS agency is committed to solve this problem.

Besides, through
the analysis of PSS agency, I can prepare for the upcoming placement better
next semester. I realize my new role as a social work intern and this
conversion of role requires me to know more about the function of social
worker. Being bilingual will give me more opportunities. But at the same time,
I will face many challenges such as cultural background and stress of work. I
need to learn more skills from other social workers.

II. Agency

2.1 The
understanding of agency context

     PSS was founded in
1962 when a small group of volunteers banded together to help care for older
members of their community. They are pioneers in the field of serving grandparents
raising grandchildren. It is a creative organization and they want to meet the
changing needs of people they serve. As needs have grown and changed, PSS has
grown and changed to become recognized leaders in the areas of senior services
and caregiver support. Now the agency operates nine senior centers, two senior and
intergenerational residences like the Grandparent Family Apartments, and an
extensive network of Family and Kinship Caregiver Support Programs such as Coming
of Age. The agency has 70 staffs and many volunteers, serving over 2000
Caregiving Families annually.

    The PSS agency
believes seniors are an integral part of our community, and we should do all we
can to keep them healthy, engaged and connected. This is the agency’s mission
and purpose. They are passionate about providing high-quality services to
enhance the lives of those they care for. The funding and operating budget are
mostly from institutional and
government funder and many contributors. It maintains the agency’s operations
and many programs and services.

2.2 Programs and Services                                        

The agency offers many good programs to serve people with the aim
of improving the quality of life. These programs are constantly optimizing over
time and have a good reputation and effectiveness. Seniors can keep healthy by
participating in the programs such as Nutritious Meals, Chronic Disease Seminars,
and Mental Health Screenings. They also hold some activities like Yoga classes,
Cooking Classes and Walking Clubs. Moreover, members can stay engaged through
the programs such as Civic Engagement, Innovative Programming, Volunteer
Opportunities, and Trips. In addition, they can be connected through Technology&
E-Learning Opportunities, Arts& Culture or Social Media to help them to be
close with each other. The agency provides many services for grandchildren
especially youth and young Adult. It includes the career guidance and strategies
for job searching, academic support like tutoring, internships and mentorships

(1) The Grandparent Family

When we visited the
PSS agency, social worker and the staff work there introduced a great program
to us named The Grandparent Family Apartments. It opened in 2005, is the residence
which built specifically for grandparents raising grandchildren. It was the
first project of its kind in New York. And it is a collaborative project among
PSS, West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH), and New
York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Grandparent Family Apartments provides
housing and supportive services to more than 50 families of elders. It
addresses the needs of participants in senior center who are raising their
grandchildren. This program develops support groups for the elders and relevant
services for the children. It shows that PSS recognized a growing need in the
community for this special population. It is an opportunity to develop a unique
supportive residence specifically for these families. It meets the most crucial
needs of housing for these families. The building is designed to meet the
urgent need for housing and services of intergenerational families.

According to the
website of PSS, the six-story 66470 square foot residence houses fifty two- and
Three-bedroom apartments. Attractive gardens and open space in the rear of the
building appeal to both the youth and older adults. There is excellent access
to transportation, nearby schools, and numerous medical, community and
religious institution that help to provide a supportive infrastructure
essential to a family neighborhood.

This project left a
deep impression on me. Because a grandmother shared her unique story to us.

When she told the difficulties of the past, she was so sad in tears and
covering her face by hands to hide her tears. It is never easy to tell the
painful story. She raised up two grandchildren and acted like their mother. She
felt desperate when she could not afford the rent. This project of PPS helped
her at that time and now she often comes here to be a volunteer. The real story
is a very powerful thing. We should pay much attention on these people and try
to help them. The Grandparent Family Apartments has received enthusiastic
support both locally and nationally for its response to the need for housing
and services for this special population.

(2) PSS Circle of Care                 

PSS has been
assisting family caregivers since 2003. This program is called Circle of Care,
the emphasis is on creating a relationship with the caregiver and building
their capacity to be better caregivers. The major grant is from NYS Department
of Health Alzheimer’s Disease Program. PSS Circle of Care has added 15 new
staff to serve families struggling to care for someone with Alzheimer’s
disease. This program is very successful. The key of success is that field
staff are available and accessible anywhere – whether it’s located in different
places or in the client’s home. Now PSS Circle of Care helps several thousand families
in all five boroughs in New York City to meet their caregiving challenges.

There are 425,000
caregivers in New York City helping family members with Alzheimer’s disease and
other dementias. A family caregiver provides unpaid assistance and offer
emotional support to elderly loved ones. Caring for a loved one is a rewarding
experience and it isn’t very easy. This is especially true for those caring for
a loved one with dementia where chronic stress is associated with poor
physical, psychological and emotional health. Sometimes, the financial problems
due to caregiving expenses is also a burden.

So, we need this
program to make it easier. This program also provides support services that
help caregivers manage stress, including feeling overwhelmed, depressed,
anxious, exhausted or even physical ill. If they need help, Caregiver Support
Groups is available in person, by phone and online. PSS also provides referrals
for temporary respite such as in-home care and adult day services. Besides,
Circle of Care offers expert consulting and training on caregiver and related
issues to companies and organizations. It can encourage people who are
struggling with caregiver responsibilities and to continue their care. So this program
can serve a very wide range of people and is very beneficial to the community.

2.3 The
role of social worker       

Being a social
worker is often a challenging, yet rewarding career. We might meet different
clients every day and need a very strong heart. We should focus on listening
and give our possible supports to them. We also want to find many relevant
resources and activities for them to go through difficult times. We want to
make a difference in the lives of adults, families, and communities. I think we
are responsible for helping people who face problems and improve their lives.

It’s our value which decides what we are. Social workers and volunteers grow by
being effective problem solvers dedicated to build a better community for

I noticed that PSS agency has a good working environment. Social
workers like them are professional and playing the role of advocate, case
manager, educator, facilitator and organizer. They can have a range of job
functions depending on their specific role.   

     Social work
professionals do not simply provide information. They also follow up to be sure
the needed resources are attained. We become the link between person or family
who need resources. Also, we are particularly concerned for those who are
vulnerable or are unable to speak up for themselves.

     As social worker,
they are often involved in many organization and activities because they may
need to work with other agencies to complete a big program. It’s a good way to
get more support and enlarge the influence of PSS. They need to do the case
management which is especially important for complex situations. For example, in
order to assist the clients who have chronic physical or mental health issues,
social worker need to record the condition and pay much attention. Sometimes
social workers gathered groups of people together for a variety of purposes.

And social workers are involved as group therapists and task group leaders. We
should have an effective communication with our clients and support families in
need of assistance.

III. The
similar problem in China

     China and America have similar problems
with the population of the elderly and children. Although we all face the same
problem, there are some differences between China and the United States. In
China, many elderly people live in their own home alone. Children are busy
working in other provinces and do not have time to look after and care for the
elderly. These elderly people are called empty-nesters. Over 100 million empty-nesters were estimated to be living in
China in 2013. This number is feared to shoot up to 200 million by 2030,
according to the committee’s study. By 2035, China’s total senior population
will be over 400 million. At the same time, many
children who do not go to other provinces with their parents, have no chance of
studying in the big cities and usually stay in their hometown without their
parents and live with grandparents. We called these children as Left-behind
Children. The one-child policy, instituted in 1979, forbade most couples from raising more
than one child. This policy caused a sudden reversal of the traditional
preference for large families, which acted as a traditional support for parents
and grandparents. It is a product of China’s rapid social and economic changes,
as well as the effects of the communist regime’s one-child policy, which has led to this population.

     The public policy
is under the guidance of The Opinion (2016). It pointed out that we need to
accelerate the pace of hatching professional service agencies for social work.

It includes social welfare charity organizations, volunteer service
organizations, civil affairs and other departments. The supports and efforts should
go deeply into the urban and rural areas, schools and families through government
procurement services. These programs and services are provided by agencies to
deal with the issues such as psychological counseling, behavioral correction,
social integration, family relations, and other professional services. The funds of these agencies and volunteer organizations mainly rely
on the social donation, corporate donation, and government support.

The activity was guided by the government and local community
officers, who plays the role of social worker. Some elderly people describe the
volunteers as “their children”, who really care about their daily life and
spend time with them. Some activities make the elderly feel they are being
respect and loved by others. The elderly is very happy to have people visit
them regularly, who makes their life more wonderful. 

IV. Self-Reflection

I will start my upcoming internship next semester. I am looking
forward to this internship and meanwhile feeling a little nervous. Through this
semester’s courses and learning, I gradually learned a lot of knowledge of American
culture and the difference between China. Through several visits to the local
agency, I have these opportunities to know the real environment of workplace
and the agency’s mission, function and some high-quality programs. I worked as a
volunteer in New York Pantry, this experience has left a deep impression on me.

 I think the U.S. agencies
have more specific functions and subdivisions relative to China. And the social
workers have more specific functions, too. There are many agencies founded very
early, so there is a wealth of practical experience. It recalled my previous
internship in Shenzhen, China, was aim to the population of the community. We
organized a variety of activities to enrich the lives of community and provide
support so that people in community can become more connected. I get along well
with my colleagues and they are all become my friends. However, I think the
function and division of labor is not very clear. For example, I had to write
reports and logs, plan the activities, keep minutes, maintain the order, etc. But
the advantage is that I can participate in almost every program.

 My area of interest is both
children and clinical social workers. I hope to make some progress in the
future. And I know that the first year of internship is general, so maybe it’s a
good transition on our experience, study and adaptation.

     I think my strengths are bilingual because Mandarin
is my native language and English is relatively fluent. Since New York is an
international city, so there are many Chinese people here may need our help. I
believe that the use of English will be more fluent through the activities of
language partner currently provided by the college. And I’m very helpful, gentle,
and respectful to others. At the same time, I am proficient with computer
skills such as managing daily document edits, writing reports, making tables
and PPTs. On the other hand, I also concerned that the internship in the next
semester would put some pressure on me. In the context of the contemporary
workplace environment with some challenges and consequent stresses, this
perhaps, is the greatest challenge of all. It exists many differences in
cultural, working methods and techniques, and the relationship of colleagues. I
am worried that I can’t handle even daily work. For example, maybe I will make
mistakes in some minor tasks such as answering calls, making phone calls,
making notes, etc. However, I believe the supervision will provide me with relevant
training and guidance. I think the internship in the beginning will not arrange
very difficult tasks because we need time to adapt new environment. So I believe
I can gradually adapt to the agency’s requirement. By constantly consulting and
learning from my colleagues, I will handle my work better. I think I need to be
courageous to ask questions and take the initiative to communicate with my
colleagues. I hope I would not get along well with my supervisor and

V. Conclusion

     To sum up, I think
I can get a better understanding of the social work agencies in the United
States through the analysis of the functions, purpose, roles of social workers
above. And the comparison between China and the United States also gives me a
lot of inspiration. Through the part of my own reflection, I analyzed my
strengths and concerns. But overall, I still really look forward to the
internship next semester. I hope I can learn something new and become a
professional social worker.


























Hu, W& Zou, G (2002).

Political economy of the floating Chinese population. Journal of Contemporary Asia  32: 536–552.


Fuyun Ma. (2013). The Development of Social Work in China and
Its Problems. Social Science Academic Press, 164-174


Charles Zastrow. (2013). Brooks/Cole
Empowerment Series: Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare. Social Science, 512-514.


PSS Annual Report (2014~2017). Retrieve from:


Renee R. Ellis Simmons (October
2014). Coresident Grandparents and Their Grandchildren: 2012. P20-576


U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community
Survey 5-Year Estimates