About the presenters:
Shannon Butler is a Carbondale native. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and is serving as the first social work intern at the Carbondale Public Library, serving clients and developing a groundbreaking library service while completing her master’s degree in Social Work at SIU. She also volunteered as a Living Book in the library’s Human Library, where she shared her own story of childhood homelessness.
Melinda Pierson has been a school social worker at Carruthers Elementary in Murphysboro since 2010. In this role, she provides counseling, behavioral and educational interventions, and parental support, as well as engages in advocacy and helps meet the basic food, health, shelter and clothing needs on behalf of her students. Carruthers is a Title I school that serves Kindergarten through 5th grade, with a racially, ethnically and economically diverse student body of over 400 students. Prior to becoming a social worker, Melinda was involved in policy and politics at the state level in North Carolina, as well as in various economic development and environmental nonprofits in an advocacy role for over a decade.