Vilma E Matos
Vilma E. Matos, LCSW – R
Ms. Matos is a graduate of the State University at Stony Brook School of Social Welfare where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work. In 2001, she received her New York State Bilingual School Social Worker certification and went on to complete an additional sixty graduate credits beyond her Master’s in the areas of youth development and interventions.
She began her social work career in 1983 at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center where she advocated for and spearheaded the first licensed outpatient and inpatient bilingual bicultural programs for the Hispanic mentally ill. La Casita Hispanic Day Treatment Program was the first of its kind in the New York State Office of Mental Health and it continues to provide services thirty years after its inception. She received numerous awards and commendations for this accomplishment.
While working as a bilingual school social worker at the Huntington School District from 1997 to 2015, she initiated programs for Latino students. She developed a Newcomer Support Group, Latina Girls Group and workshops to address the social and emotional needs of Latino immigrant students and their families. She developed a curriculum with unique group activities and to help her in this endeavor, she designed a unique board game to be played with immigrant youth. The students find “My Journey to the United States – Mis Pasos a los Estados Unidos Board Game©” a fun way to open up and discuss sensitive topics.
After retiring from the Huntington School District in 2015, Ms. Matos began a new career as a professional presenter and Latino immigrant consultant to schools, mental health clinics, community agencies and conferences. In June 2016, she presented as a panelist at the National Association of Social Workers, (NASW), annual conference at Washington, D.C. on conducting Newcomer Support Groups. She is also an entrepreneur promoting and selling her game on www.ELLGames.com. She works part-time as a clinical therapist at South Shore Guidance Clinic and at the Syosset School District where she was specifically hired to help address the needs of recently arrived Latino immigrant students and their families.
Ms. Matos serves as the second Vice President and Chair of the scholarship and membership committees of the National Association of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Social Workers (NAPRHSW). She is also a committee member of the Suffolk County Association of Mental Health and Wellness and Adelphi University Task Force on addressing the needs of Latino parents and their children in the Brentwood School District. She has been the recipient of numerous awards over her career to include most recently, “Social Worker of the Year” from NYS Chapter of NASW Suffolk Division (April 2015) and the “The Elizabeth Guanill Memorial Award” from Suffolk County Human Rights Commission (May 2015).
Ms. Matos was born in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, and raised on Long Island. She is the proud parent of two sons, Orlando and William Matos.