News & Resources

Q&A with Jay

Mar 22, 2023

Jay Burkhardt

In honor of National Social Work Month, we sat down with our own Director of Social Work, Jay Burkhardt, to get his views on his profession and learn a little more about him.

How long have you been a social worker?

Since 2000 when I got my master’s degree from VCU’s School of Social Work. So, that’s 23 years and nearly all that time has been with older adults, 13 in adult day specifically.

What does this year’s National Social Work Month theme, “Breaking Barriers” mean to you?

Social workers work within and around systems that are imperfect at best. We have to, if we want to positively impact others. By working diligently to either physically connect people with resources or the information to access resources, the profession breaks barriers. Our work not only seeks to help the individual, but also, as we identify gaps in service, we collectively advocate for change at the policy level.

What brings you the most joy?

That’s easy! Getting to know the people we serve and watching them become more comfortable and engaged in all that Circle Center offers. Also, the feeling of satisfaction in developing meaningful relationships with their care partners.

What is the biggest misconception people have about social workers?

That we’re all government workers or that we all work at a local department of social services. People are often surprised at where social workers can end up, from CEO and other administrative positions to professional licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), for example.

What drew you to your focus on older adults?

Three things–older adults are fascinating in that they know more history than I do. Hearing and learning from their firsthand accounts is exciting to me. Secondly and selfishly, job security. Looking at the coming age wave when I was in graduate school in the late 1990s, it was clear that we lack the infrastructure and person power to care for our aging American society. Lastly, a commitment to being part of a caring and competent workforce of professionals who see that our latter years are in good hands. Most of us will need assistance towards the end of our lives. Circle Center works to advocate that the needs of our older adults are at the forefront.

What do you wish folks knew or understood better about Circle Center?

It is incredible how much fun and synergy can happen at Circle Center! This place is literally good medicine for what ails us as we age. Look holistically at how the adult day experience can be an enhancement to your or a loved one’s life. Circle Center literally is showing the world how we can age more successfully.