At PATH, we love getting the opportunity to celebrate and recognize members of our staff who are making an impact through social work and advocating for our unhoused neighbors. In this blog, we are celebrating Nate Dressel, PATH San Diego’s Clinical Outreach Specialist, who recently received his very first Social Work Matters award.  

What drew Nate to social work was the innate desire to be of service to others. He shares, “Seeing the population you serve thrive because of your involvement is the motivation most need to keep going, which is why being recognized for your effort is so much more meaningful.”

On June 16th, the first annual Social Work Matters dinner was held at Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden in La Mesa to honor Nate for his commitment to serving our unsheltered neighbors in Downtown San Diego. Nate was nominated by PATH’s associate director of outreach, Brian Gruters, who was then selected by the Social Work Matters Committee, led by Julie Dede, the director of community relations for St. Vincent De Paul.  

Upon presenting Nate his award, Brian shared, “Nate stands out on my team, and I believe among other professionals in this field, for the focus he puts on forming relationships with clients and his commitment to each of their inherent worth, I cannot think of a better endorsement of those qualities.”

The funding for this special award was provided by an anonymous individual. “He has had a life so positively impacted by social workers that he wanted to create something to recognize [the profession] in San Diego,” shared Nate. This individual also designed the plaque, which was presented to Nate at the dinner.  

Nate, having worked with the unsheltered community for over a year and a half at PATH, began his social work career in the clinical and mental health field. He shared, “I really enjoy working for PATH because it’s an organization that allows for creativity and client-centered solutions… I love the ‘whatever it takes’ attitude of the organization. I really feel like PATH gives us the tools to help our clients make real change in their lives.” 

After receiving the first Social Works Matter award, Nate now has the opportunity to pay it forward by sitting on the committee which will select next year’s recipient.  

At PATH, we are thrilled our team members continue to be shinning lights in each of their communities. Thank you, Nate, for using a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to meet the needs of our unhoused neighbors living on the streets. Your dedication to PATH’s mission and living a life of service is an inspiration to us all! Congratulations on your well-deserved award!