ABILENE – The local branch of the National Association of Social Workers recently honored a pair of Abilene Independent School District employees for their work with the homeless community of Abilene.

Darrin Cox – AISD’s Homeless/Foster Care Liaison – was named the local chapter’s Social Worker of the Year and has also been nominated for the Texas NASW Social Worker of the Year award. Cox has worked to identify and implement meaningful and practice ways to meet the unique needs of homeless students and their families.

“Darrin is a passionate and tireless advocates for students, regardless of the origin of their needs,” said Dr. Cheryl Cunningham, AISD’s Executive Director of Federal Programs. “Since beginning his current role, Darrin has worked extremely hard to build community awareness and support for the innovative programs and services he has developed and implemented to eliminate all barriers to school attendance and success.

“I could go on and on about the things Darrin has done, and continues to do, to meet the needs of students and families,” Cunningham said. “He is unstoppable and determined to make sure no need goes unmet.”

Shannon Que is an ACU student who is currently completing her master’s degree in Social Work, and she was named the local chapter’s Social Work Student of the Year. Que will join the AISD Federal Programs team full time in September as a social worker serving homeless students.

“Shannon has demonstrated skills far beyond those usually seen in an intern,” Cunningham said. “She is extremely intuitive regarding even unspoken needs students might have, and both creative and determined in seeking solutions.  She is the ultimate team player who is led by a passion to serve.”