Get to Know Jennifer Lipack, Local 338’s MAP Director

Date: Tuesday October 09, 2018

Jennifer Lipack, the Director of Local 338’s Member Assistance Program has many years of experience helping people. In the feature below, she highlighted why she wanted to enter the field of social work and how she’s been able to make a difference in the lives of Local 338 members and their families.

How long have you been a social worker? What are your primary areas of focus in your field?
I have been in the field for 15 years. My primary focus in the social work field is mainly substance abuse - which was not by choice. It was an opportunity that was offered to me, and from there my substance abuse background kept growing. Besides substance abuse, I enjoy working with addictions such as food addiction, depression, anxiety and mental health issues.

Why were you drawn to this field?
Since people were always telling me I was good at listening and helping others, I decided to pursue this career. In terms of education, I have always been interested in studying the human mind, psychology and why people act the way they do. In undergraduate, my professor told me the mind is a powerful thing. That stuck with me and made me want to learn more about human behavior.

Why is helping others so important to you?
Helping others also helps me to help myself. Sometimes when others are struggling, I like to be able to show them what their capabilities are. In doing so, it helps me reflect back on my own personal trials. It’s important to me because it helps me learn about others and helps me grow. When the people who are around you feel good, it promotes a more positive vibe. It’s important to me that more people are happy.I would have to say my biggest accomplishment is that I am typically considered the underdog; anything I try and pursue, there are road blocks that slow me down from succeeding. Despite all that I continue to fight and dedicate my time to achieve the goals I want. I don’t give up. To me, keeping that mindset and focus, especially when you have had as many struggles as I have had, is my biggest achievement.

What made you want to work in the labor movement?
Having a job is very essential to everyday life -- we spend the majority of our time at work, and we rely on our job for income and benefits. It’s important to help individuals keep and excel at their job so that they can continue to live the life they want. I wanted to be a part of that momentum and continue to see individuals grow and be successful. A big part of social work is advocating for people’s rights, and that fits perfectly into the labor movement.

Why is self-care so important and what’s your favorite self-care method?
It is very important to take care of yourself. If you cannot help yourself, you cannot help others. When you are not well, you could put yourself and other people are risk, especially when they rely on you to be their backbone and strength. Without self-care you face burnout. Think of the cup analogy; If you are constantly emptying your cup by helping others, but not filling your cup by helping yourself, eventually you become empty with nothing else to give. When you practice self-care, you make your cup overflow and you have an abundance. As a social worker, I aim for that. It’s more positive, safer and more helpful to others. My favorite self-care method is CrossFit. It lets me focus my energy on other things and makes me feel emotionally and physically stronger.

What are some of the things that MAP can offer members?
If a Local 338 member or their family member is struggling with substance abuse, mental health concerns, domestic violence, or any other matter affecting their livelihood, MAP can refer them to a trusted professional. MAP spends a lot of time researching resources within the community. We strive to be on top of all the resources available to connect our members with the person who is best able to help them overcome their struggles.

For more information about the Member Assistance Program or to speak to Jennifer Lipack, call 516-294-1338 ext. 1304.

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LOCAL 338 RWDSU/UFCW  •  1505 Kellum Place  •  Mineola, New York 11501
Main Office (516) 294-1338  •  Union Call Center (516) 294-1338 ext. 1775  •  Medical Call Center (516) 294-1338 ext. 1776
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