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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

Meet Our Social Workers

Posted March 23, 2022

In the summer of 1898, the first social work class was offered at Columbia University. Since then, social workers have developed private and charitable organizations to help people in need and bring awareness to social problems to the public.

Today, there are more than 700,000 professional social workers in the United States and more than 3 million worldwide.

Catholic Charities has a wide range of social workers throughout the eight counties working with those in foster care, drug/alcohol rehabilitation, immigration, and many more.

We were able to sit down with social worker Jason Kuharik and therapist Amber Strong to listen to their experiences in the social work field and how they feel about Catholic Charities programs.

Meet Our Social WorkersMeet Our Social Workers


  • How did you get involved with social work?
    • JK: I was going to school at Akron University, and I always knew I kind of wanted to be a drug addiction counselor. Luckily I had a guardian angel, a guide, saying, “This is where I wanna go, what I wanna do one day. What’s the fastest route to get there?” I had a really good teacher that helped me map that out to get the social work license. I had a troubled childhood. My mom was a really big part of getting us out of a really difficult relationship, so I’ve always been kind of a big mama’s boy. I didn’t have a father that was very active in my life. She’s very passionate, and I think a lot of those qualities were engraved in me, and I just like to give back and help people. It just feels like that’s just naturally what I’m supposed to be doing.
    • AS: For me, it was actually kind of a family situation, but eventually kind of a guardian of light got involved, and that is kind of what got me starting to think about social work. I believe she was a social worker, and she helped me through kind of a challenging situation and advocated for me, and so it got me thinking about it. I had a guidance counselor also in middle school. I spoke with her, and she actually went to school for psychology. She took some classes in social work and was like, “Honestly, I wish I took more classes related to social work because of where the focus is.” I remember her describing it to me as like very people-oriented. Very person-centered. From middle school on, I knew this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

  • What is one thing you wish people knew about this field?
    • JK: Social workers, people in the field, definitely don’t choose it because of the money. Generally, there’s a story behind all of us. It’s about keeping children safe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to make a difficult call, but if we don’t, and something happens to that child, then what am I doing? It’s not about bringing apart the family. It’s trying to make referrals to help the family. I think that’s what the biggest misunderstanding about us is why we’re here, why we do what we do.
    • AS: I feel like people need to recognize that social work is more than just children’s services or child/family services. It’s more than just boxes people may put social work in. Social workers do a lot more than just those specific roles.

  • What advice do you have for those who are interested in social work?
    • JK: The biggest thing is, is having your own support. Have people to process with that you’re comfortable and trust. If you’re going to get into this field, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster. You have to be very mindful of transits. Every once in a while, I get a little old Caucasian guy that reminds me of my alcoholic grandfather, and it provokes feelings and thoughts in me that I have to keep in check. The other thing is self-care. Have a plan to take care of yourself, so when the doors close and you go home, you have outlets for your stress and your emotions.
    • AS: If you have questions, ask questions. As part of social work and school, you do practicums and internships, so just be willing to ask questions when you have a question about something. It’s said a lot, but definitely self-care, like making sure that you do find that balance with taking care of yourself but also taking care of work.

  • Has this job changed you as a person? If so, how?
    • JK: It has. You know, my childhood was pretty rough and difficult at times, and I questioned a lot growing up. I got off the beaten path. I made some bad decisions myself. As they say in recovery, I’m kind of a work in progress myself, and spiritually I’m sounder than I have been in quite a few years. I’m practicing the principles that I teach. I try to live by the values I teach. Honesty, integrity, being open-minded, humble, humility, good communication, non-judgmental.
    • AS: I don’t see how it couldn’t, that’s for sure. Going through some of the experiences and things, hearing all the stories that you hear from people- it definitely impacts you. It makes you realize that every person is different.

  • What’s the biggest reward from this job?
    • JK: I call this my smile file. It’s [folder filled with papers] client “Thank You’s” and poems over the years. It’s everything from thank you’s, to Christmas cards, birthday cards. Sometimes it’s colored pictures from the kids I helped. To me, the biggest reward is just the thank you.
    • AS: The biggest reward is seeing people meet their goals and seeing people being successful.

  • Why is social work important?
    • JK: A lot of people don’t have access to things, they don’t know what to do, they haven’t been taught, they’re not as fortunate as some of us. It’s like they go through hardships and trauma, and they go through this repetitive cycle, and they don’t know how to get out of it. They don’t have access to programs that can help them to try and interrupt that cycle and help them improve their life. As times are getting worse, it feels even more important for all of us to get active to help people, or we’re going to see a larger gap.
    • AS: Some people, it’s like they don’t even know where to start and sometimes the problem. They see where they want to go to some extent, but they have no idea how to get there. And so to have someone else to help kind of guide that journey and to say, “here let’s collaborate, let’s work through this, let’s try to come up with some ideas, or thoughts, or ways of coping even in some areas in life where we don’t have control on.”

  • How long have you been with Catholic Charities, and what do you like most about working here?
    • JK: About 3 years. I like the team that I work with. I feel supported here by the team, even the director over here, Jen Tulli, has an open door. The way that this facility, in particular, is run is kind of like a family over here. They care about us and are invested in us. I could go to them for anything.
    • AS: About 3 ½ years. It’s just the community. You can really see here at Catholic Charities how they really try to make sure that everyone has a voice and that everyone’s thoughts and ideas are heard. So I think that that could be really helpful for staff to know that the organization supports you and if you need something we’re here.

For more information about our services, please visit or call 216.344.2600.

We’re Hiring! For those interested in working with Catholic Charities, click the link below to see the open positions.

Open Positions

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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