Cedric Aaron BASW, MSW
In 2010, Cedric Keith Aaron, Jr. relocated his family to Humboldt County from Chico. A social work mentor recommended working in the field before attending graduate school and he moved to accept a position at Remi Vista, Inc. after interning with them during his BSW program at Chico State University. Working with foster youth and their families for that year lit his passion to make social work a career, continue his education at Humboldt State University, and apply as an Advanced Standing MSW student.
Although his wife was born and raised in Humboldt County, Cedric is from the Bay Area and knew a rural community life with very little racial diversity would be a challenge for him at first. In graduate school, he found statistics reflecting the lack of African American clinical social workers to be extremely concerning and this, along with Humboldt County's demographics, has driven his passion and advocacy for diversity among social work professionals, especially those who are providing clinical services.
Cedric researched the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) Mental Health Stipend Program and found it would give him the classroom and hands-on experience he would need. He was awarded a stipend for the 2010-11 academic year and secured a clinical internship placement with Humboldt County Mental Health, where he was able to gain experience in both emergency services and jail services. Being able to focus on clinical social work with a competent professor and Mental Health Stipend Program peers in an intimate setting provided the space for him to talk about diagnoses, systems theory, strengths-based/client-centered services, working in an intense environment, and self care. Interning at the county's 24-hour psychiatric hospital and county jail also gave him the clinical experience employers want (e.g., crisis intervention, suicide risk assessment, comprehensive assessment/DSM diagnosing, developing client plans, and working in an inter-agency capacity).
Once a masters level clinical position became open for the county, it was a smooth transition because most of the mental health staff knew him and the skills he was bringing into the mental health branch. Cedric is now completing hours towards his LCSW and is employed as a full-time mental health clinician in Humboldt County's juvenile correctional facilities.
"I always knew I wanted to work with folks in the criminal justice system because people can easily get lost in that system without the proper support, which could lead to prison incarceration, problematic drug/alcohol use, and unresolved mental health disabilities," says Cedric. "I also wanted to work with the incarcerated population because I believe that some people view them as 'disposable' or 'forgotten and done'. The kids I work with are amazing young people."
Cedric invites HSU students to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions (e.g., undergraduate/graduate school questions, working with the criminal justice system, providing clinical services).