By Purnima Hallock, Director of Communication and Development
On September 20th, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, co-founder and director of My Life My Choice, was recognized for her Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Social Work at Boston University. This prestigious award honors a Boston University School of Social Work graduate whose contributions to social work have been of exceptional value to the profession and the community-at-large.
Rick Cresta MSW/MPH, LICSW, faculty member at Boston University, commented as he presented Lisa with the award:
“Though a natural leader, Lisa does not take credit and is quick to give it to others. [At My Life My Choice] She wants the survivors, and all girls and boys, to have the self belief – and the opportunities – that they deserve. Lisa does this through core social work values and practices: meeting girls where they are, valuing their right for self determination, empowering and coaching them to speak for themselves, leading with humility, and seeking collaboration to develop and build upon existing resources.”
Lisa has been working with vulnerable young people in a variety of capacities for almost twenty-five years. Her professional experience includes running a shelter for homeless teen parents, developing a diversion program for violent youth offenders, and working in outpatient mental health, health promotion, and residential treatment settings. In 2002, Lisa founded My Life My Choice - a survivor-led continuum of services aimed at preventing and intervening around the commercial sexual exploitation of children. My Life My Choice has come a long way since its humble beginning. Lisa’s vision, her commitment, and most of all her desire to do work that matters has been the backbone of My Life My Choice.
“To love what you do and feel that is matters, how could anything be more fun.’ I have held on to that quote and it has been the guiding principle for me. That's how I feel about being a social worker,” said Lisa as she accepted the award.
After graduating from college and completing a year as a VISTA volunteer on a Navajo reservation, Lisa moved to Boston and took a position as a youth prevention coordinator. Since then, keeping her guiding principle in mind, Lisa has been a change-maker for vulnerable adolescents.
“Every single day, on the best days and on the worst days, Lisa is the light. She is one of the rare people who is not only an exemplary person herself, but who truly brings out the best in all of those around her. We are so grateful for her as a leader and as a friend,” said Audrey Morrissey, Associate Director at MLMC.
Lisa’s final words to her applauding crowd were “I am a very lucky woman to get to be a social worker.” The staff at MLMC, the children we serve and all the partners we work with feel lucky to have Lisa as our leader as we fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.