Mennig helps homeless families achieve stability

Melissa Mennig, MSW ‘08
Lead Case Manager, The Road Home Dane County

From a young age, Melissa Mennig was always inspired by the opportunity to help empower people living in oppressive situations. Now, as the Lead Case Manager for The Road Home Dane County, Mennig runs one of their housing programs, Housing & Hope, for homeless children and their families.


Walk us through a typical day in the life at your job.

The Road Home Dane County provides opportunities for homeless children and their families to achieve self-determined goals and affordable, stable housing. As the Lead Case Manager, I am responsible for providing on-site case management for 15 families that are coming from homelessness. In addition, I also supervise The Road Home’s case managers and oversee their on-going training. A typical day usually involves working with a family on their case plan, meeting with other service providers in the community to coordinate services or enhance partnerships, writing case notes, and checking in with members of my staff for supervision. 


When I found out there was a career where you could empower people every day, I was hooked.

What originally inspired you to become a social worker?

It actually took me several semesters in college to figure out that I wanted to become a social worker. Then, it took the rest of my time in school to convince everyone else that I wanted to be a social worker. But for me, being born with a limb difference, I was always keenly aware of populations and people that had been oppressed. I was never able to sit idly by and watch it happen. From a young age, I was always very inspired by how amazing people were and loved helping to empower them to have a voice. When I found out I there was a career where you could do this every day, I was hooked.  


In your opinion, what is the greatest benefit that the SSW offers students?

A chance to interact meaningfully in the work through quality internships and an opportunity to learn in grow in those internships in a supportive way, through peers, teachers and supervisors. They continually challenge you to challenge yourself and your thinking and this has helped me grow so much professionally and personally.


Do you have any advice for current students in the SSW to prepare themselves for their future careers?

Take advantage of your placements. Ask as many questions as you can possibly think of, this is your time to learn, absorb, make mistakes. Challenge the organization you are working with to continually make services better for their clients. This will go a long way towards your confidence and will force you out of your role as a student and into your role as a professional social worker. 


Last edited by karnaky on Friday, February 20, 2015 | Printer Friendly Version