VLSP and HAP Say Thank You to an Invaluable Volunteer: Judi Iranyi, LCSW

  • 4/4/2006
  • Tina Canas-Brown, VLSP Director of Social Services

Judi Iranyi with Tina Canas-Brown and her son Mason

It was nearly one year ago that I found out I was pregnant. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head:

"I can't believe I'm pregnant."

"Who is going to work with my clients?"

"I hope it's a boy."

"Who is going to supervise my students?"

"Actually, I don't mind if it's a girl"

"Who is going to advise the volunteers?"

I began to make plans for my maternity leave. I planned to stay home for a total of five months and needed to find someone to cover my position during that time. As Director of Social Services, my job encompasses many different aspects; supervising and evaluating social work students, dealing with difficult clients, advising staff and volunteers, and attending community meetings. Who had the necessary skills and qualifications, including knowledge of our program and the availability to take over my full-time position? Would I be able to be out for such a long period?

There are times when we are directly confronted with the understanding that our lives are better off because of the help of others. In this instance, I was personally confronted with this reality. As an agency that is dependent on volunteers to provide our services, all of VLSP's projects are aware of this concept on a daily basis. We depend on our volunteers to provide legal and social services to nearly 20,000 people a year.

Judi Iranyi, a retired, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), has been a volunteer with VLSP for three years. Aside from performing case management duties for our clients, Judi has taken an active interest in the housing situation in San Francisco. She is a HAP representative at various community meetings and is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Shelter Monitoring Committee. Despite her very busy schedule, Judi generously agreed to take over specific aspects of my job. As an LCSW, she is qualified to supervise HAP's three social work interns. She also has the skills needed to help make client assessments and her fluency in Spanish allows her to work with our monolingual Spanish-speaking clients. Taking over my job duties would add over 5 hours a week to her already busy schedule.

After 5 months of spending time bonding with my newborn son Mason, I have returned refreshed (well somewhat) and rested (not really). There has been many times during my leave that I secretly thanked Judi for giving me this amazing opportunity; the first time I saw him smile, the day I could take a nap because he had been up all night, the time he was sick and I could rock him for hours without worrying about work. Thank you Judi, for allowing a mom to bond with her infant son!

Everyone at VLSP and HAP wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to Judi Iranyi for all of her volunteer work. A recipient of last year's BASF / VLSP Community Service Award, Judi is an invaluable volunteer. For more information about providing pro bono legal or social services with VLSP and HAP, please contact our volunteer coordinator at Please read on to see what some VLSP staff members say about Judi Iranyi…

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