Some people donate to their alma mater once or twice, to make a big mark or help during special fundraising drives.
But for Christina Stoney, who earned her Master of Social Work from the USC School of Social Work in 1993, giving is an ongoing commitment. She has made a gift nearly every year since graduation — and when she skips a year, she often gives double the next year to make up for it.
Stoney, who is based in Ventura County, said that her actions are just one way to give back to the school that contributed so significantly to her life.
“I felt like the USC School of Social Work graduate program really prepared me for working in the field. I was very inspired by the different professors that I had,” said Stoney, who earned her degree while attending the school’s Orange County Academic Center.
She currently works part-time providing clinical supervision to MSW and marriage and family therapy interns at the private nonprofit foster care/adoption agency Aspiranet — a progression in a career path that also included work in the foster care field and the adoption field. Aspiranet offers a variety of programs, including therapeutic services for children and families.
“Were it not for my experiences with the USC School of Social Work, I would have never ended up having the opportunity to work in this field. I am happy to say that I truly love my job and feel that the USC School of Social Work program gave me a great start,” she said. “USC's knowledgeable and passionate professors, combined with the school's internship program, which allows students to get hands-on experience in the social work field, make this a really solid and progressive program.
“It was life-changing for me,” Stoney said, adding that she has applied what she learned in both her professional and personal lives and also stressed the importance of the connections she made with fellow students and colleagues.
Stoney attributes her loyal giving to the awareness that she was fortunate to be able to attend graduate school, and the knowledge that there are many aspiring social workers who can’t afford higher education and are struggling to get scholarships and loans.
“I was so grateful that I was able to do this,” she said.