Leven “Chuck” Wilson was called to be a social worker. As a young man, he was expected to serve his community by cutting the neighbors yards and looking out for the seniors of his neighborhood. He realized that he had a passion to serve seniors and his community.
“Serving gave me a purpose,” Wilson said. And that passion turned into a purpose that led me to the discipline of social work.”
Now, Wilson, the president and CEO of The Renew Group, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to changing lives and transforming communities, is creating legacies in Saint Leo University’s Bachelor of Social Work Program. For last year’s inaugural Influential Women of Social Work event, Wilson donated and created four scholarships for undergraduate social work students, which were presented at the event by Dr. Ebony Perez, chair of the program.
Wilson provided another scholarship at October’s Social Work Conference, and will provide four more scholarships at this year’s Influential Women in Social Work event set for 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Monday, March 6, at the university’s Wellness Center, and online via Zoom.
The month of March not only is Women’s History Month, but it’s also National Social Work Month. This year’s theme is Social Work Breaks Barriers. Social work professionals not only work with individuals, helping those with food insecurity, lack of affordable housing or limited access to health care, they also advocate for change to ensure that policies and laws are adopted to make sure everyone has access to services.
For Wilson, his mother set the stage for a life of giving back. “My mother was an activist and advocate for justice and a warrior against injustice,” he said. “I was groomed to fight for the rights of all Black people and all people. I was taught to have a colorblind strategy, but to be intentional about the injustice toward Black and brown people.”
He received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia University of Lynchburg. Wilson served as faculty member at the University of Hawaii Manoa and as executive director of College Preparation, Community, & Leadership Development, at Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) in Florida.
Wilson is the author of The Truth About the Facts, Be U: Meet Pierre the Penguin, Little Girl from a Little Town, and most recently, Journal Your Change. He travels extensively around the United States and abroad presenting and speaking on wellness and well-being.
Wilson has worked with Saint Leo’s BSW and Master of Social Work students, and in working with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Child Protective Investigations (CPI), he found that many of the employees were Saint Leo graduates. “This gave me insight to Saint Leo’s powerful BSW program,” he said.
“Anyone who has a passion for serving communities, people and systems that impact people should consider a career in social work,” Wilson said. “Social work is a profession that has multiple disciplines that will allow an individual to pursue various interests in the areas of social work and services. I feel that serving people opens the world.”
To Wilson, Saint Leo’s social work programs educate students and instill them with the core values that produce quality social workers. “I chose to support Saint Leo’s BSW Program in order for others to have an opportunity to enroll and compete this amazing program and serve their communities.”
How to Attend
To attend the March 6 Influential Women in Social Work event, register at https://calendar.saintleo.edu/worldwide/event/7296-influential-women-of-social-work-2023.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Castro, assistant director of the Center for Adult Learning at University Campus, at email@example.com, (352) 588-7312, or (813) 226-2779