Social Work Week was recognized across Sinai Health from March 4-8, with information tables, lunch and learn events and more. At Mount Sinai, social workers engage in a special tradition that creates space to pause and reflect on the important work and unique contributions of every team member.

Named for a feisty, persistent character in the children’s story The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, the Golden Shoe Awards are a chance for the social work team to reflect on the unique qualities and contributions of their colleagues. For these awards, members of the social work team lend their creative flair to decorating a drawing of a shoe for the colleague that they have drawn from a hat, and shares their thoughts about the skills and attributes that person brings to the team.

Sabrina Gaon, Manager of Health Disciplines, Social Work and Clinical Nutrition, started the Golden Shoe Awards in 2014 as a way to reflect on the exceptional contributions of all team members. “As Sinai Health grows, this is a great opportunity to really see what your colleague’s skills and strengths are, and it’s so important to celebrate others, and feel recognized for the work that you do.”

Photo of Kasia Pytlik

Kasia Pytlik

For Kasia Pytlik, social worker in Mount Sinai’s NICU and a process improvement consultant, the Golden Shoe Awards present several opportunities. “It’s great because you never know who you will draw to create an award for, and you don’t know who will pick you,” explains Kasia. “If you don’t know the person you are creating an award for, it’s a great opportunity to learn more and get to know about the work that person does through speaking to your colleagues. And when you see what someone has created for you, it’s a reminder of the impact that you have in other peoples’ lives.”

While every year is special, Sabrina does have one particular memory of the Golden Shoe Awards. “I never put my name in for the awards, but a few years back, someone went out of their way to make me a golden shoe, and shared some incredibly kind words about me. That was when I really understood how special and important something like this is to people.”

Read more about social work week at Sinai Health: