BOONE, N.C. — An experience as a student volunteer while at Appalachian State University sparked a career path for Heather Canipe ’08 ’10.
As part of a community service requirement when she was a student, Canipe volunteered as a tutor at Western Youth Network (WYN) Inc., a Boone-based nonprofit organization investing in the lives of children and adolescents to build a better future and stronger community in the High Country.
“After completing my required work hours, I continued tutoring with WYN because it was a wonderful experience and I really believed in what the program was doing,” Canipe said.
She graduated summa cum laude from the university with a Bachelor in Social Work in 2008 and continued her education at Appalachian, completing her Master of Social Work in 2010. She is now the director of student programs at WYN.
WYN provides an after-school program for fifth- through eighth-grade students that includes academic tutoring, building interpersonal and life skills, physical activity and healthy snacks. The organization also has a drug prevention initiative, summer day camps and a mentorship program.
“I do the broad picture work for our after-school and summer programs,” Canipe said. “I coordinate the volunteers and interns, maintain grant requirements, handle paperwork and do whatever else is needed to keep our programs running smoothly.”
Canipe said she enjoys the balance between office work and client interaction: “I can create and enjoy meaningful relationships with the kids as well as maintain the process by which the programs they enjoy exist.”
In her role at WYN, Canipe has the opportunity to maintain professional relationships with some of her former professors, as the local nonprofit organization offers volunteer and internship opportunities to many students in the Department of Social Work.
Canipe said she had many outstanding professors in the department who were willing and able to guide her, including Dr. Kellie Reed Ashcraft, Dr. Tiffany Christian and Dr. Julie Sprinkle Hill ’98, who formerly taught at Appalachian.
“Working at WYN is deep and meaningful work,” she shared. “I see the smiles on the children’s faces daily and I know how powerful it is to have positive and reliable role models. I know what I do makes a difference — not only in the lives of the children we serve, but to their families and the greater community.”
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Department of Social Work
The Department of Social Work in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The undergraduate social work program prepares students for generalist social work practice, and graduates can be found in social service agencies, hospitals, schools, hospices, criminal justice systems and mental health facilities. The graduate program teaches students advanced clinical skills for their work as social service managers and leaders, or clinicians who provide services to individuals, families and communities. Learn more at https://socialwork.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.