Lawrence Funck worked as a welfare officer in Lebanon County for thirty-five years. He is part of the sixties generation who grew up “wanting to make a difference.” He thought about becoming a clergyman and then decided to become a social worker. He started doing intake and eligibility worked but shifted as soon as he could into case work. He took advantage of the New Directions program under Governor Casey to help mostly younger people, “get GEDS, get a driver license, apply and find the funds to go to college, get into employment training parents.” And he worked for years to do outreach into the Hispanic community. “We worked with teen parents, helping them see that having a child was not the end of things. We said, ‘you can go back to school and get ahead.’ We found ways to help them with child care, with funds for school and books, even with car insurance.”
Now, these programs that Lawrence so proudly worked for are at risk of being cut — in his community and in communities across the state.
Lawrence’s face beams as he talked about that time. He meets his former clients all the time and his pride in what they accomplished together is evident. “They are teachers and nurses and others who help people.” But the one that most seems to move him is the young woman who became a case manager and works with his former colleagues. Looking back this work Lawrence says, “At our best we did real social service. We changed the world.”