From Valdosta State University
The National Association of Social Workers, Georgia Chapter honored recently retired Valdosta State University Counselor Sheila Wakeley with the Achievement Award during the association’s annual conference at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center Friday, Feb. 22.
Wakeley was selected to receive the Achievement Award for the mental health advocacy and support she has provided to the community for more than 30 years.
After working as a human service provider for Lowndes County Mental Health for 12 years, Wakeley became the first African American staff counselor hired at Valdosta State’s counselor center in 1993. During her time with the university, Wakeley worked with administration and staff to establish the VSU Division of Social Work. She served on the search committee to hire the division’s first president. She was also instrumental in establishing a support group for first generation college students on campus.
Wakeley retired in November 2012.
During her acceptance speech Wakeley thanked her husband, Melvin Wakeley, and two children, Evan and Katherine, for their support and patience. She also thanked Lawanna Barron, family advocacy outreach manager at Moody Air Force Base and a “sister survivor” of breast cancer, as well as her guests and colleagues for their support and contributions to her career.
Wakeley also offered some encouragement and advice to her fellow social workers.
The National Association of Social Workers is the largest organization of professional social workers. The Georgia chapter has more than 2,700 members and is headquartered in Atlanta. For more information about the association, visit www.naswga.org .