Katrina Todd Boldin '91
Social Work Major
Author/ Social Worker
Whenever 27-year veteran of social services and author Katrina (Todd) Boldin ’91 has a chance to speak in front of a classroom of potential social workers, she usually spends a few minutes trying to scare the “hell” out of them.
“I tell these kids if you have an inkling that you can’t do this, pick another field, any field,” Boldin said. “And don’t even consider working with children in this field because they need somebody who will be there for them and who cares about them. They already have a world of people that come and go in their life that hurt them.”
She also tells students to think long and hard about what life might look like when paying back their student loans. “It’s a lot easier to pay them back when you enjoy what you are doing, and enjoyment comes in different ways,” Boldin said. “I’m not saying that choosing social work as a profession is going to be unicorns and rainbows because it’s not, but if you want to make a difference and if you want to be the difference in someone’s life, whether it’s a child, an adult, the elderly, substance abuse, if you want to make a difference in this world, then you should become a social worker or a teacher or work in criminal justice.”
Boldin was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and grew up in Gary, Indiana. She started at MacMurray College in 1986 and graduated in 1991 with a major in social work.
“As an alum of MacMurray, I firmly believe that it was the professors and staff that supported me so much,” Boldin said. “They pushed me to want to be the difference in somebody else’s life like the way they made a difference in my life.”
One defining moment at MacMurray was when Boldin found out her mother had cancer – a day after the drop date for classes. “I went into Dean Muriel Smith’s office crying, explaining the situation,” Boldin said. “Dean Smith put her arm around my shoulder and walked me to the registrar’s office and told them to drop me from every class with zero penalty.”
Boldin then spent a couple more hours talking with the dean. “Dean Smith made an impact on my life and she’s not the only one. There are many more at Mac that do it every single day. They make a difference.”
Making a difference in someone’s life is the reason Boldin spent nearly 30 years in the social service field. As a military spouse, she did so in several locations across the country from California to Texas to Washington as her husband received new orders.
It was in Texas where Boldin found her passion for social work when she worked for the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (TDFPS), Child Protective Services. There she served hundreds of children suffering from abuse and neglect. Boldin assisted the biological parents with services in an effort to have their children returned to their care. She worked hand in hand with court appointed special advocates, court systems and service providers. Boldin was an active supporter and voice for the children in foster care, insuring that their best interest was always the priority. During her tenure with TDFPS, Boldin was promoted to supervisor and was instrumental in developing and motivating her staff to have the same passion for the permanency of all children.
When her husband received another set of orders, this time to Illinois, Boldin began putting that passion on paper and wrote her book, “Can Someone Help Carry My Baggage.” In the book, Boldin tells the story of a handful of children she worked with who had been abused and neglected and deemed “unadoptable.”
“I wanted to tell their story of how unconditional love can make a difference,” Boldin said.
The story is told not only from the views of children, but also from the experiences of the social worker and adoptive families. You can find Boldin’s book, under the author name of K.A. Cory, on Amazon.com.
Today, both Boldin and her husband, Robert, are retired living in Virginia, close to their daughter and granddaughters. “I’m technically retired from the field, but I go around to colleges and speak to classes,” Boldin said. “I get invited back to MacMurray every year and when I was told my book was on the mandatory reading list, it brought me to tears.”