NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Sara L. Barwinski (1955 - )
Sara Barwinski has worked as a committed community organizer, policy advocate, facilitator, educator, supervisor, and administrator in the fields of child welfare and communities at risk. She has challenged unsafe child care conditions and her work led to a provision that all day care centers in Missouri have an adequate number of staff members for their child clients. When challenged by religious daycare providers, Barwinski met with church members, religious care providers, and low income advocates and educated them on the importance of the provision.
Barwinski has been a powerful voice through media outlets and public speaking engagements to promote important advocacy work, educating the Missouri public on the importance of many safety-net programs, including public assistance programs, food stamps and other nutrition programs, methods of accessing services, supportive drug treatment for pregnant women, and needed improvements in the child welfare system. She coauthored Progress and Pain: Hunger in Missouri in 1988 and Hunger in Missouri (1986) (Missouri Association for Social Welfare). She has been an advisor and/or board member of the Reform Organization of Welfare for more than twelve years.
Barwinski served as a school counselor at LOGOS High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and as director of social services for WeCare Health Facility in Columbus, Ohio from 1978-1979.
As tireless organizer and advocate in Missouri, Barwinski organized the National Anti-Hunger Coalition Conference in Missouri; the NASW-Missouri Statewide Hunger Conferences; Stamp Out Hunger Week; World Food Day Events; and the Physicians’Task Force on Hunger in America’s tour and public hearings in Missouri.
Barwinski designed curricula and administered the Children’s Trust fund project to provide child sexual abuse prevention training in daycare centers and churches. She drafted the Missouri state plan and wrote the proposal for the use of Hands Across America Funds, which received $267,854 in grant money.
Barwinski was a senior policy analyst to Citizens for Missouri’s Children for over ten years beginning in 1991, and was an issues organizer and policy analyst for Reform Organization for Welfare (ROWEL) in 1991-1992. She served as a social worker to Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and on an interdisciplinary team for a deinstitutionalization project for persons with developmental disabilities.
Sara Barwinski received her MSW from Ohio State University in Columbus in 1982 and her Master’s in Theology from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. Barwinski received her BA in Psychology and Social Work from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in 1977. She has been an LCSW since 1991 and received her ACSW in 1986.
Significant Achievements and Awards
Sara Barwinski was nominated for the 1995 Sister Pat Kelley Award for her service to underserved populations. She served as a board member to ROWEL from 1983-91 and 1993-95. She was chairperson of the Policy Group of the St. Louis Drug Abuse/Child Abuse Task Force from 1990-91. Barwinski also served as chairperson of the Hunger Task Force of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare from 1985-87.