Joyce Box of Nectar has been awarded the 2019 Alabama Spirit of Adult Protective Services (APS) Award by The Alabama Department of Human Resources.This award is presented annually to a frontline worker who is able to implement their own creative and innovative ideas to provide better services for the disabled and elderly population.
Box said about receiving the award, “It (the award) was a shock and a surprise for me.Someone came in one day and asked to take my picture.It was later announced that I had won the award.”
Box began her social work career five years ago as an adult protective service worker with the Marshall County Department of Human Resources.She has a master of social work degree and is currently licensed at a master’s level, but is working towards higher certification.
Since becoming employed at Marshall County DHR, she has partnered with a sponsor to organize an angel tree at Christmas to provide gifts for adults being served by the department. She has also utilized a youth group to de-clutter a client’s home so that she could remain there safely, and organized a question and answer session with community partners who serve the same population.
In addition, Box has been instrumental in developing training sessions for the past four years for social workers, attorneys, nursing home administrators, bankers, and law enforcement personnel on topics that are geared toward disabled and elderly adult needs. These conferences, which offer free continuing education hours, are currently held two times per year in Marshall County.
Box received her award in Montgomery last week. As a recipient of the APS award, she will represent Alabama for the National Spirit of Adult Protective Services Award in Denver, Col., at their 30th annual conference in August. She is looking forward to meeting with other APS workers and learning about the services other states provide for the adult population.
Prior to becoming a social worker, Box and her husband were foster parents in Blount County for 132 children. They adopted two of those children, and took custody of two who wanted out of DHR custody, but did not want to be adopted. It was only after the family decided to no longer be foster parents that Box decided to pursue her social work degree.
Box enjoys working with the adult population and said, “There are adults in the community that need help. Many people think that DHR only helps kids, but that is not the case. I like to help people. I like to help families. I like to make a difference. Sometimes it’s not about how much we do, but what we can do.
“Some nights I don’t sleep. There are days that I leave work crying because of a bad situation, and some days I leave work with tears of joy. I treat all my clients the same and put forth the same effort with everyone I come in contact with.”