Be a Blessing
This Social Work Month, Burnise Charpentier explains how her family philosophy led her to become a social worker.
My name is Burnise Charpentier, and I’ve been a social worker for 22 years. I’m not so sure I should even admit that!
I graduated with my undergraduate degree from Florida International University, and my graduate degree is from Florida State University. To explain why I chose to be a social worker, I have to explain my cultural background.
I am a second-generation American. My parents are from Hispaniola. My mother is Haitian, and my father is Dominican. My parents migrated to the United States and landed in New York. I can only imagine the hardships they encountered navigating a new city, learning a new language, and gaining successful employment. Those hard times were always smoothed out by the kindness and assistance of strangers, friends, and family. This kindness has intrinsically evolved to my family's core mission of “being a blessing”!
I chose to be a social worker so I can serve my community, to provide compassion at my patient’s time of need, to instill hope, to advocate for my patients when they feel powerless, and of course, to “be a blessing”.
While working as a case manager at the Shepherd Center, I’m currently in a position to assist patients and their families with hardships they have encountered due to illness or catastrophic spinal cord injury. Life always comes full circle. I would love to say I chose Shepherd, but really Shepherd chose me. Shepherd’s mission and vision align with my core ethics as a social worker. Shepherd is a very special hospital that advocates for its patients, as well as families. They look for unique ways to rebuild lives with hope, and independence, with the continuance of advocating for full inclusion in all aspects of community life while also promoting safety. Shepherd’s mission aligns with my perspective as a social worker – and of course, it allows me to “be a blessing!’
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.