Carolyn Strudwick (Managing Director, Social Work)

Carolyn Strudwick (she/her/hers) is a social worker with over 27 years of experience working with homeless and at-risk youth. Her area of specialty is working with youth who have suffered traumatic experiences stemming from societal violence and victimization. She approaches the work within a social justice harm reduction framework utilizing a trauma informed and anti-oppression lens while addressing structural and institutional racism as it shows up in social work practice and with communities served.

Carolyn began her career in social services at Safe Horizon in 1993 as an Outreach Worker and Case Manager at Safe Horizon’s Youth Program, the Streetwork Project. Carolyn last role was that of Associate Vice-President for youth program where she also served on the organization’s Program and Senior Team. In this role, Carolyn’s development of youth programming utilizing an anti-oppression framework and a Transformative Justice approach with youth addressing violence and abuse, served as the model for the organization as it moved in its strategic plan towards anti-racism work. Carolyn served as a leader and mentor during this phase using the perspective and experience from her intersecting identities to center the voices of BIPOC young people and staff.

Through her commitment to anti-racism practice, she mentored many, sponsored the People of Color Having Courageous Conversations for Connections Affinity Group, and was a founding co-chair of the People of Color in Leadership Affinity Group. During this time, Carolyn collaborated with many Safe Horizon programs to implement Client-Centered Practice and tailor the trauma-informed practice model, ARC (Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency), with an anti-racism and anti-oppression framework with young people. Carolyn exemplified in the expansion of mental health services at Streetwork by becoming a satellite of the Counseling Center. This opportunity opened new possibilities of funding for the program which resulted in two consecutive awards from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide harm reduction services to vulnerable youth.

Carolyn has been a prominent voice and figure within the Runaway and Homeless youth committee serving on various advocacy groups such as Coalition for Homeless Youth providing testimony to City Council and addressing legislative advocacy and policies around the needs of youth. As a Harm Reductionist, she participates in championing the rights of drug users and sex workers to prevent marginalization and criminalization. Carolyn also participates in the Downstate Racial Justice Committee which reviews policies and legislation brought to the larger Downstate legislative body from Albany to ensure there are no potential racial impacts on communities of color.

Carolyn graduated from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work 2006, where she earned a Masters in Social Work specializing in Community Organizing and Planning. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the social work department at Hunter College.