With a varied career including radio announcer and singer, Layne Russie switched fields and for the past five-years has worked as a family services specialist for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program managed through State of Nevada, Department of Welfare. As Russie stated, “My current position in welfare is a stepping stone to achieving a greater good, but it has been a phenomenal and humbling experience for me as well.”
Russie received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2008 and is in her second year of graduate work majoring in social work through University of New England.
Russie explained that as a family services specialist, she provides coordinated employment and training services including assessment, vocational guidance, support services and education to new clients. She addresses and assists clients in working through barriers to self-sufficiency such as mental illness, unemployment or underemployment, displaced homemaker status, substance use and legal issues. “I maintain regular contact with all of my families so the more client support and advocacy to get out of it – the better.”
She initially wanted to become a geropsychologist since the elderly population continues to grow. “While doing a research project, I had the opportunity to interview a licensed clinical social worker who piqued my interest when she informed me that there are limitless options as a licensed clinical social worker,” Russie explained. “For me, my interest in being a part of many facets of a solution to poverty pointed me toward social work. My abilities as a social worker are limitless.”
While family service specialists come from many different backgrounds and education, Russie believes a psychology and social work background has helped her in reaching people. “Humans don’t like to have to speak about personal weakness or ask for help. It is my and my associates’ jobs to not just empathize with a situation, but to hold the hand of the client and strategize their return to self-sufficiency.”
She encourages everyone to take their education to the greatest degree possible. “Education is the strongest tool to freedom, independence and life satisfaction.”
Debbie Hall is practically a Las Vegas native (34 years and counting) and loves experiencing everything in Southern Nevada from the Las Vegas Strip to the surrounding mountains and Lake Mead. She also teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and loves sharing her knowledge. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.