Debbie Hoffer, Advocate for the Elderly
by Dara Drake
Apr 19, 2011 | 4020 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Queensboro Council for Social Welfare recently honored Debbie Hoffer, the Director of Field Operations for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. She received the Evelyn Pliego Memorial Social Work Award for her outstanding help in the older adult community.

But her role goes beyond social work; she’s an advocate for the older adult community, takes pride in what she does and loves doing it.

Hoffer graduated from Hunter College in 1997 with a Master's Degree in social work. She was originally working towards her degree in nursing, but decided to change career paths when she had to do fieldwork in the medical surgical psychiatric department.

“I was watching what the social workers did and I feel like I was more attuned," she said. "I dropped out of nursing school with one semester left and changed career paths.”

She started working with the homeless population and the disabled before finding her way to Catholic Charities in 2001. She was first hired as a “Meals on Wheels” social worker, and was later promoted to program manager, then project manager.

She’s been there ever since, and praises what they do for the communities they aide. “Catholic Charities is an amazing organization," she said. "They work with all different groups. I’m in awe of all the services and the quality.”

The organization provides more than the basic services.

“I think it’s just so diverse what we do," she said. "One of the things that we do is we provide advocacy; another thing is we are empowering the seniors. This is a place where people can take up tai chi, get a meal, get companionship - and live life to the fullest and remain in their communities. We not only take care of them, but also empower them.”

Hoffer loves working with the older adult community, because she feels like she can learn so much from them.

“I’ve actually worked with people in their 100s. Just to get to that point in life, there’s so much experience and knowledge to gain” she said. “They’ve paid into the system and given their hearts and souls to their neighborhood, I want to make sure we provide senior centers and management and meals on wheels; everything their entitled too. I’m happy to be an advocate and the support for older adults.”

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