While in college in her native country, Kenya, Florence Kimondo, PhD, MSW, pursued a business path until she realized it wasn’t her true calling. So she redirected her energy toward U.S. graduate studies in social work, a field where she felt she could help children and families grappling with social and emotional challenges.
“The way children behave is often a manifestation of how they are feeling and being affected by their home life and social environment,” Dr. Kimondo says. “I became a social worker to give children and parents someone to open up to about what’s not OK with their lives and to find ways to help them.”
Social workers often interact with families in crisis. In Dr. Kimondo’s courses, she encourages students to view clients not through the lens of their difficulties, but rather from a strengths-based perspective.
Erikson’s Master of Social Work program stresses the importance of the cultural, social, racial, and economic contexts in children’s development and learning, and Dr. Kimondo’s previous experience honed her knowledge of Erikson’s unique approach — first as a student in the PhD in Child Development program at Erikson and now as a faculty member.
She previously worked at Chicago’s World Relief organization, providing therapy to immigrant children and families fleeing war-torn countries and seeking asylum in the United States. Her experience helping children traumatized by war and displacement combined with her research work on minority and immigrant families adds another dimension to her role as a faculty member at Erikson. In her work, she strives to teach future practitioners to develop more awareness of their own cultural bias and a deeper understanding of the effects of cultural, racial, and class differences on children and families.
- PhD in Child Development, Loyola University and Erikson Institute, Chicago
- Master of Social Work, Loyola University, Chicago
- Bachelor’s of Business Administration, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya
- Associate’s Degree in Journalism, St. Augustine University, Tanzania
Areas of Expertise
- Cultural and social contexts of development
- African-centered practice
- Refugee and immigrant children and families
- School social work
- Erikson Institute Envisioning Change Project
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- 2016 – Ray, A.; Fleming, J. & Kimondo, F. (2016). Through the lens of culture: Envisioning effective partnerships between black families and early childhood programs. In Being Black is not a Risk factor: Statistics & Strengths-Based Solutions in the State of Illinois report (pp. 4-9)
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Related professional experience
- June 2007-May 2010: World Relief, bilingual children’s social worker
- March 2015-Present: Marjorie Kovler Center-Heartland Alliance, clinician and interpreter
- October 2006-May 2007: World Relief, tutor and mentor
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