By: Connie Klimek
Known for her warm smile and comforting presence, you may recognize junior I’Vory Woods around campus. Woods’ involvement extends across campus: she is a Gateway peer mentor, and a member of the Student Social Work Association, the Black Student Union, and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.
Passionate to be a voice that many children and minorities don’t have in legal systems, Woods is majoring in Social Work at IU South Bend. Her mission is to break the stigma around therapy, especially for minority communities. Recounting that mental health is a taboo subject among many minorities, Woods feels her advocacy and representation within this field will help others identify with her goal and understand that “it’s okay to not be okay.”
“You’re not weak because you seek help,” said Woods.
Aspiring to earn her Master of Social Work and then open up her own practice as a psychotherapist, Woods seeks to create a platform to share what she stands for while creating a legacy. She hopes that her strides will open a more accessible path for those following suit.
Woods has seen the difference just one person can make in another’s life, as her mother fostered many children, and even adopted one while Woods was a child.
These experiences gave Woods insight into the foster care system and prompted her to be a voice that many children in the system do not have. Woods’ foster siblings raised her awareness about the importance of having a safe, nurturing and encouraging environment. From a young age, Woods’ empathetic intuition could recognize that others’ needs were not met, and she sought to help them get where they needed to be.
“I truly believe that one day my story will resonate and help another person,” she said.
Since studying at IU South Bend, Woods feels that her social work courses have not only enhanced her professional skills, but have also positively impacted her informal skills and helped her develop mindfulness in her everyday life.
Woods especially enjoys the collaborative environment the social work department facilitates from group advising to regular group projects.
Networking within her department introduced Woods to the vast opportunities and support systems that IU South Bend offers. She said she hopes to share her community and these opportunities with peers, while extending a special welcome to minority groups for additional support on campus.
Apart from her studies, Woods said she is a very spiritual individual. She is especially looking forward to her upcoming baptism. Additionally, Woods enjoys traveling, spending time practicing self-care, and bringing warmth and love to others. Woods’ warmth shows in her passion for listening to others’ stories, making them feel heard, and sharing her witty sense of humor.
Woods would also like to extend a warm welcome to her younger sister, Rachel, who will be joining the IU South Bend community this fall.
Photo // I’Vory Woods