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A few minutes with social worker Carla Roberts

February 27, 2006

"A few minutes with" is a lighter look at a student who has been in the news.

Photo of Carla RobertsSenior Carla Roberts is an inspiration to everyone she meets at San Francisco's Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP). Roberts came to HPP 16 years ago to kick a drug habit and improve her self-esteem through its women's support group. Now, Roberts is supervisor for substance abuse services at the organization that helped her get back on her feet.

Roberts is married with three children, and a fourth is on the way. She will complete her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2007 when the new baby is old enough for day care. She plans to pursue her master's degree in social work at SFSU and become a licensed clinical social worker.

Why did you choose to attend SFSU?
I was really interested just because of my own life history. I wanted to be able to give back to families that I work with, but I want to be able to have my degree as well.

Who are your heroes?
My parents just because they instilled values about education within us and how important it is, no matter what type of pitfalls you have in life, no matter what roadblocks you've been up against. ... And then my children just because that's who I work for every day!

What are your long-term goals?
I'd really like to work with low-income families, to provide therapy to them, because there aren't a lot of people of color in the therapy field. Not a lot of African-American, not a lot of Latino therapists, so I would hope that we could start to make those numbers rise.

What are your passions?
My passion is learning, actually. I love to learn, I love to acquire new information, and I love to read. Because other than that I think I'm boring! No, I love to dance.

What inspires you?
The families that I work with inspire me to keep going. Their situations help me to want to keep fighting for them and helping them out.

Where on campus, outside of class, are you most likely to be found?
In the parking garage going home to my kids! If it's not just going to classes, then I'm on my way home. I'm not hanging out. I'll use the Library sometimes, but I'm pretty much on my way home.

What is your favorite off-campus hangout?
At home with the children. … Other than that, maybe every other weekend or once a month I'll go out and dance, and that's over in Jack London Square.

Name a guilty pleasure of yours.
Oh, wow. Chocolate chip cookies. Seriously! I will eat a bag of chocolate chip cookies and not even eat dinner. It's bad!

Other hobbies?
Just dancing. I love music and dancing. ... It makes me feel free, it helps me to release negative energy, and it helps me to be in the moment.

What person, dead or living, would you most like to meet?
Probably my father's father. ... I never knew who he was, and I heard a lot about him. ... He was from Mobile, Ala. I heard a lot of good things, and I heard that my oldest son looks just like him.

Favorite quote?
Education is the key to success. ... It's so true.

What is guaranteed to bring a smile to your day?
Someone smiling back. ... Being in a person's presence who's warm and you can tell that they have a good nature about themselves. It just helps you keep going.

-- Student Writer Lisa Rau with Matt Itelson


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Last modified February 27, 2006 by University Communications