Mary Ann Angelo is a social worker at St. Luke’s Hospital in Quakertown who works closely with Bringing Hope Home and our team, referring families who are in need to our grant program. Mary Ann has introduced 14 families to our grant program for assistance through our Light of Hope Family Grant Program, and has referred 23 families to our holiday Adopt-A-Family Program for help with holiday gifts and gift cards. She will be retiring at the end of February and took some time to share a little bit about herself, her work, and her experience working with Bringing Hope Home.
Mary Ann began her career in Social Work 42 years ago at West Chester University. Though she originally wanted to pursue a career in Special Education, she switched over to a new Social Work program that started at West Chester University. Later on, she pursued her Master’s in Social Work at Temple University. Some of the requirements that were part of the program included doing field work in the local area. Though she specifically asked not to be placed in the Mental Health Ward at Norristown Hospital, her advisor placed her there anyway, telling her that she would often come across situations that would not always be easy for her. She wanted to make sure Mary Ann was prepared for everything. This showed later on in her career as a Social Worker, as she served various populations of people experiencing difficult circumstances.
After receiving her license in Medical Social Work, Mary Ann started working at St. Luke’s Hospital. She has experience working in Dialysis, Hospice Care, and Oncology. A typical day at the hospital for Mary Ann starts off by doing rounds and seeing patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Afterwards, she counsels patients who have just received a diagnosis, helping them find ways to cope with the diagnosis. She also helps families by plugging in community resources to help assist families who are undergoing financial instability. Her job is two-fold: she serves as a counselor for her patients, as well as a community resource.
The most difficult part of her job is the realization of how difficult treatment can be, especially when options begin to run out. When working with those suffering from cancer, she describes it as most difficult when the disease progresses, treatments no longer help, and families begin to move towards Hospice options. It becomes difficult working with families in this emotional transition. However, she finds it rewarding to help patients and families find hope and positivity in their lives. She finds joy in helping families discover their strengths in the face of conflict and to not let cancer define them. Mary Ann helps families find normalcy in their lives, alleviates their fears and anxieties, and assists families in finding resources in the community.
Mary Ann first found out about Bringing Hope Home when starting her job. She found our organization online, and directed families towards the grants and opportunities we provide.
She describes Bringing Hope Home as a “Godsend” because the organization helps families keep up with their payments. So many of the clients she serves have difficulty keeping up with utility bills, mortgages, etc., and this becomes a juggling act for families every month.
She refers them to Bringing Hope Home’s grant for help with their monthly payments. Mary Ann is appreciative of Bringing Hope Home because we do not have any specific requirements and accept all clients with open arms. She loves how Bringing Hope Home upholds a familial atmosphere, with staff and volunteers adding a personal touch to all that they do. She appreciates how we connect with our families on a personal level, an interaction that is so important to the families that are served.
Mary Ann is honored and privileged to be a part of a community that serves as a beacon of light for the clients she works with. We are extremely thankful for Mary Ann for all the work she has done for our community and for working with us at Bringing Hope Home!
Interview and article by BHH intern Basil Pattammady