“My biggest goal is to continue to show the value of social workers within different systems. Social workers have a unique perspective, and I want to bring that to this space.”
Mathieu’s colleagues describe her as “thoughtful,” “reflective,” and “remarkable.” She’s a “leader,” an “innovator,” and an “exceptional listener,” they say, with the skills to build programs from the ground up.
“I don’t think I imagined the contributions of a social worker would end up having such a broad impact,” says Maria McCauley, director of libraries for the City of Cambridge. “Marie has opened up my eyes to the great benefit of having a social worker in every organization.”
Jason Yee, manager of branch services for the library, says Mathieu has gone above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to meeting with 10 clients every week, he says Mathieu is teaching a high school student the basics of social work and helping her create videos that show people how to access social services in the city.
Mathieu says her training as a social worker has prepared her to develop step-by-step plans to address the needs of her clients in order of importance. One time, a homeless person at the library told her that he got cut off from his benefits and had not eaten in two days. First, she recalls, she found him a free meal and then she tackled his financial problems.
“I’m able to assess the situation and then triage things so that we put first things first,” says Mathieu. “Sometimes that may include walking somebody somewhere and making sure that they’re able to get what they need.”