Nan Jordan

Nan Jordan, graduate social work student at WCU, spent her 2018 spring break alongside Dr. Tina Chiarelli-Helminiak assisting ICE detainees at the York County Prison. Nan joined a legal team composed of law students, advising attorneys, social workers, and clinicians from the law school’s Asylum and Human Rights Clinic at The University of Connecticut (UCONN), Dr. Tina’s alma mater. The team’s goal was to compile supplemental data to be used in court to aid men and women seeking asylum.

Serving as the team social worker, Nan spent one week collecting and assembling country condition reports in preparation for detainee court dates. She also provided support with psycho-social needs and served as English-Spanish interpreter, allowing detainees to tell their stories of fleeing persecution from their home country. Nan leaned on vital social work skills such as active listening, empathy and validating one's feelings to help detainees process their life narratives. Together, the team compiled typed narratives, condition reports, mental health assessments, legal forms, and letters from detainees’ loved ones vouching for their need of asylum.

Nan described her experience to be “profound and humbling” and expressed the need for social workers presence in the social justice system.


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