Mother Of Four Fulfills Social Work Dream Amidst Growing Demand


South Texas College Social Work graduate April Duran recently celebrated a remarkable achievement of earning her associate degree on May 4, an experience she describes as a labor of love, highlighting the critical demand for social workers in today’s landscape. STC Image
South Texas College Social Work graduate April Duran recently celebrated a remarkable achievement of earning her associate degree on May 4, an experience she describes as a labor of love, highlighting the critical demand for social workers in today’s landscape. STC Image
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By Sara Reyna 

South Texas College Social Work graduate April Duran recently celebrated the achievement of earning her associate degree on May 4, an experience she describes as a labor of love, highlighting the critical demand for social workers in today’s landscape. 

“Growing up in an underrepresented city, I have always had this sense of wanting to help and support others overcome their challenges,” she said. “Seeing first-hand what families go through because of situations like drug addiction, being displaced with little to no resources and having to be in the care of strangers is something that has stayed with me and actually motivated me to pursue a profession in a field that is in need of social workers.”

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April Duran. STC Image

In 2005, as a high school student in Donna, Texas, Duran watched her mother take on the role of a foster parent, providing a safe haven for children from families struggling with addiction and other challenges. Those experiences stayed with Duran, the importance of offering refuge and care to those in need. 

Duran reflected on how those experiences grounded her, recognizing her stable upbringing had enabled her to serve as a source of support for the children that were welcomed into her family’s home. 

Following her graduation and as a first-generation college student, Duran embarked on her pursuit of wanting an impactful college degree. In 2006, she enrolled in a psychology program in Kingsville, Texas, a journey she recalls as a difficult transition she wasn’t prepared for. 

“I witnessed the innocence of children and their longing for stability,” Duran said. “Seeing my mom step in to care for others, regardless of our own struggles, was inspiring. When I graduated high school, those experiences stayed with me and I decided to pursue a psychology degree in Kingsville, however, I am a first-generation student, no one in my family had a college degree or any experience pursuing one, so I didn’t know what to expect and ended up making some decisions that ended my academic career very early.”

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Upon her return home in 2007, Duran embraced motherhood with the birth of her first son. With her focus set on supporting her quickly growing family, school was put on pause as she devoted her time and attention to her children full time. 

Determined to pursue her lifelong dream of earning a degree, she courageously took a leap of faith 15 years later, starting her journey at STC in 2022. 

“I wasn’t in the right headspace to continue my college career, and shortly after coming home, I became a new mom to my first son, that completely changed my life and becoming a mother was my number one priority,” Duran expressed. “As I began growing my family, four sons later, getting my degree was always in the back of my mind. I decided to finally put myself first and act on this feeling of needing to help my community, just as my mom did. I started my journey at STC in its social work program, truly a labor of love and I’ve never looked back.” 

Duran seized her moment and immersed herself in the college experience, by becoming the social work club president and took on a work study role in the admissions office at the Mid-Valley campus. She describes these experiences as pivotal stepping stones towards a successful career in social services.  

“Working with the talented faculty and staff in the social work program at the college has opened my eyes to why being involved on campus or in your program is so crucial to the success of student outcomes,” Duran said. “It has not been an easy road to earn my degree, juggling life with my four boys, serving as the social work club president and working on campus, but the way our faculty cares has inspired me. They pour into us so that we can go on to pour into our communities, for those in need of support and guidance. I take pride in this line of work. I know the demand is an important call to action so that we can foster successful communities across the Rio Grande Valley.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this occupational group is projected to experience rapid employment growth of 7.8% over the next decade. This surge is attributed to the heightened demand of mental health care, elderly care, treatment of substance use disorders, public health and preventative care. These factors collectively contribute to the robust employment demand for community and social service professionals.

Duran acknowledged that while her journey required sacrifices, STC has helped her fulfill her calling; a shared victory that is not just hers, but a victory for her entire family.

“These goals that I have are not just for me, this is for my family; for my mom who has inspired me, showing my kids that it doesn’t matter what age or where you are in life if you are called to do something just go for it wholeheartedly,” Duran said. “I know the importance of serving others. STC has instilled in me that not only are my goals attainable and important, but they are limitless. The college wants us to succeed so they’ve made school accessible by offering us various ways to take classes and it’s affordable with their endless resources like scholarships and other financial aid. The talented and selfless faculty members saw something in me that I didn’t see for myself and now I get to provide that same support to my community. This isn’t the end of my story, it has just begun.” 

For more information on STC’s Social Work program, visit https://www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/social-work/

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