As National Social Work month comes to a close, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight PAFCAF’s resident social worker and Director of Policy and Research, Megan Branham. So we sat down with Megan and asked her a few questions to learn more about her life, passions and her goals for the future.
What’s the first thing you do to get your day started?
Coffee, coffee and coffee. Getting myself and my daughter ready and out the door in the mornings requires a fair amount of caffeine. I also usually do a quick check of emails or social media just to see what’s happening in the world. Then it’s out the door to start the day!
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
I’m a true extrovert and value quality time with people. I love spending time with friends and family – whether it’s just sitting on the deck laughing over shared stories or traveling for a quick weekend getaway. Having shared experiences and memories makes life that much more enjoyable.
Who inspires you?
There are so many strong women in my life that inspire me. They all come from various life experiences and live across the country. Their wisdom, courage, strength and leadership inspire me every single day. It’s not always about the big and bold things people do that get my attention, it’s the quiet power of meaningful work that makes me more intentional about how I life my life.
What book impacted you the most?
I could go on and on in this category! I was the kid that would get caught reading with a flashlight under the covers after bedtime. A few years ago, I read Lean In and I think I underlined just about every single line in that book. It really encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, speak up and know when to keep pushing when the work gets tough. I also loved Glennon Melton Carry On Warrior and Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. All God’s Children by Fox Butterfield and Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter are must reads for anyone working in child welfare or juvenile justice fields. Any book that can make me cry, think and/or laugh is one that gets a special spot on my nightstand.
What are you most looking forward to right now?
Honestly, warmer weather! I love a little bit of winter but I’m an outdoor person. I’m ready for sunny days at the beach with my family in North Carolina. We are also big Disney people in my household so I’m always looking forward to another trip to Disney World.
What do you love most about working in child welfare or at PAFCAF?
I have a background in social work and my heart is for the “non-clinical” parts of the profession- community develop, administration, policy and programs. I love that PAFCAF is a combination of all of those things. On any given day, I could spend my morning at the State House working with legislators and advocates on child well-being policy and the afternoon meeting with partners about research project or talking with providers about training needs. I also really enjoy the variety of experiences and perspectives that PAFCAF providers bring to their work. I have a piece of art in my office that says “your story matters” and I truly believe every individual story from our providers, to our partners, to the MSW grad students I supervise have the ability to make our work on behalf of children in SC that much more impactful.
How did you get your start working in child welfare?
I’ve spent the past 20 years working with children! From being a camp counselor/cabin “mom” for children with special health needs to coordinating a teen pregnancy prevention program to currently being a guardian ad litem, my heart is for kids. When we adopted my daughter, a whole new world opened up to me and I knew that child welfare was where I belonged. PAFCAF is a perfect fit for me: it combines my passion and my professional in the best possible way.
One thing you might not know about me:
I’ve run two half marathons. In true Disney-fan form, they were through the parks at Disney World-very cool experience. There might be a third in the future, but first…..coffee.