About Us


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone who wanted to travel long distances to communities in need to volunteer their valuable social work services could, without worrying about the cost?  

Many nonprofit organizations and global NGOs welcome trained and experienced individuals and provide the structure for international volunteering, but very few provide stipends to enable them the ability to go. Travel expenses are considerable when you think about air flights, in-country expenses, costs of visas, and other travel related costs. International Social Work Solutions, Inc. levels the playing field for all social workers with a strong desire to “heal the world,” no matter their ability to fund their volunteer trip.

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Thea T Bader, MSW, LICSW

Thea T. Bader, MSW, LICSW, graduated from Simmons College School of Social Work in 1983 and has dedicated over 33 years in the social work field making a difference in the lives of people in the U.S. and in countries throughout the world.   Working in the U.S. as a private practitioner as well as in the nonprofit sector, she has experience with a variety of issues such as homelessness, child sexual abuse, the elderly and difficulties related to parenting. Ms. Bader’s passion for volunteering internationally led her to Tanzania, Peru, Cambodia and South Africa for collaboration with in-country NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to help with people affected by community violence, profound poverty, violence against women, and child trafficking to name a few. Ms. Bader’s main objective was to leave the country with sustainable programming to benefit the people of those countries for years to come.

In 2012, Ms. Bader pursued a Master Certificate in Global Mental Health from Harvard University, Department of Psychiatry specializing in Refugee Trauma.   From this platform, she along with a team of professionals developed and implemented “Training the Trainer” programs for professional and para-professional social workers in their home countries. Training modules were developed for all levels of an organization from the “on the front lines” social worker to the highest level of management. In addition, as clinical supervisor for the Joint Government of Cambodia/UNICEF Orphan Reunification Project, she consulted with the on-site project manager in Battambang, Cambodia helping to reunite children residing in orphanages with their families.

Ms. Bader’s vision for International Social Work Solutions, Inc. is to give social workers everywhere the opportunity to continue the crucial work of looking for ways of improving the lives of people in need.

 

 

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Carol Curtin, MSW, PhD

Carol Curtin, MSW, PhD is the Associate Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Director of the Shriver Center’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) programs. She maintains faculty appointments in UMass Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, the Department of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Sawyer School of Management at Suffolk University.

Dr. Curtin received an MSW from Boston University School of Social Work and a PhD in Clinical and Population Health Research from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  She has over 30 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral health /psychiatric disorders and their families using a variety of clinical modalities and has directed programs in clinical, community, academic, and research settings. In addition to her clinical skills, Dr. Curtin has expertise in clinical research, non-profit management, leadership development, grant writing, and fundraising.

 

 

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Nancy Karp, MSW

A veteran volunteer since the fourth grade, Nancy Karp has worked directly with a variety of populations as well as for a number of issue-driven organizations. She has served on several Boards including The Dana Hall School and the American Jewish Congress, New England Region. Currently, she serves on advisory boards at the Boston University School of Social Work, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly and Community Servings.

After receiving her MSW from BU, Nancy worked for the Department of Social Services of MA, working with families and supervising social work interns. Later, until her retirement, she worked at Jewish Vocational Service providing services to Refugees and low-income adult learners. Currently retired, Nancy enjoys traveling around the world and painting and crafting.

 

 

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Susan Olivo, MBA

As Executive Director of Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (PFS,) Susan leads national and local grant making programs designed to provide the blind and visually impaired with the tools and resources necessary to lead independent, productive lives. Under Susan’s stewardship, PFS has grown from a small, localized foundation to being a significant force in the field of low vision and blindness.

Prior to joining the nonprofit world, Susan had a successful career in publishing and direct marketing, working for Reader’s Digest Association, Citibank, and The Washington Post Company. She holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago.

Susan is on the board of directors of Philanthropy New York, the NY area regional association of grantmakers, and serves as Co-Chair of the Committee for Equitable and Inclusive philanthropy. She has served as Project Evaluator for the National Eye Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and as adjunct professor at Mercy College Graduate School of Business.

 

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Heather Rafey, MBA

Heather has been working in compliance at Management Sciences for Health (MSH) for the last 18 years. MSH is a non-profit that improves public health in developing countries. She has had substantial experience working with federal government and foundation grants. Her area of expertise is compliance with regulations and financial management. She has an MBA in Finance and a BA in Economics from Clark University. She currently lives in Wayland, Massachusetts.

 

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Melissa B. Ryan, MSW LICSW

Melissa received her Master of Social Work degree from the Boston University School of Social Work and received her Internship training at the New England Home for Little Wanderers. For 10 years, Ms. Ryan served in increasingly responsible capacities in the Massachusetts Mentor program in the child welfare system with foster care children and community stabilization. She served as Child Therapist, Coordinator and Supervisor for the Intensive Foster Care-Boston Children’s Program; as a Clinical Supervisor in the Therapeutic Mentoring Program; as well as Program Director of the In-Home Therapy Program using Family Centered Treatment evidence based model. Currently Ms Ryan is a child, adolescent and adult therapist at Psychological Care Associates providing individual and family therapy. Ms. Ryan has volunteered her services through international organizations in Cambodia and South Africa. Working with the Boston Social Work Global Alliance Ms Ryan assisted in developing a partnership with NGO Ikamva Labantu in Cape Town and an ongoing mentoring program.