By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on January 7th, 2013
Heather fondly remembers her childhood and much of that happiness in her life is because her Grandparents were so involved in her upbringing. In fact for a long time Heather thought she had two Moms—her Mom and her other “mom” which was her Grandmother!
Her Grandmother worked in the school system as a Truant Officer, so Heather would not only spend time at home with her, she was also at the school with her every day. Those early years formed a unique foundation for Heather—one where she was most comfortable being around adults and also showed the importance of being grateful for the many blessings in her life. Giving back to your community was part of those lessons learned from her childhood.
So it should be no surprise that Heather pursued a degree in Social Work and was the only one in her undergraduate class with an interest in Gerontology! Her undergraduate work earned her many awards including being published in a national industry periodical, Social Work. An internship at an Adult Day Enrichment program turned into a full-time position after she graduated with her B.S. in Social Work. A year and half later Heather went back to school for her Master of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis. A highlight for her graduate work was the time she spent as an intern at the National Council on Aging where she organized a national summit for the Multi-Generational and Civic Engagement Initiative which brought together leaders to share successful methods of engaging older volunteers in leadership positions.
Today, as a Project Manager for THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project, Heather is excited to be part of the team and share her knowledge of the model and support current adopters.
- Master of Social Work, Gerontology; Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
- Emerging Leaders in Aging (ELA), Co-Director of D.C. mentorship program
- Trained Eden Associate and Embracing Elderhood Guide
- 5 years in aging services
- Publication in Social Work. The big picture: How social work can effectively utilize photography. October 2009.
- National Association of Social Workers Bachelor of Social Work Student of the Year for Tennessee; Dr. Clara Louise Myers Outstanding Practicum Student Award in Gerontology
In addition to her passion for working with Elders, Heather enjoys photography, game nights with friends, attending live concerts, and playing Ultimate Frisbee!