EPCC’s criminal justice professor, Hector Zamora, accepted the annual Social Worker of the Year Award for his work rehabilitating sex offenders.
Zamora is a proud native El Pasoan that is always working to give back to the community, the best way he knows how.
Photo courtesy El Paso INC.
Hector Zamora social worker of the year.
He is a licensed master social worker with a prominent educational background in criminal justice.
He was honored at this year’s National Association of Social Workers Texas (NASW-TX)-Rio Grande branch awards dinner.
Zamora has dedicated his life to helping individuals that society may not deem worthy of a second chance.
He is a man that has taken the road less traveled to try and make a difference in the community.
He wants to help people “Become a productive member of society again…giving them a chance that maybe, they hadn’t received in the past but still holding them accountable to make sure that were not compromising community safety,” added Zamora.
“To me public safety is one of the most important parts of our job.”Zamora worked for a while as Director of Dismas Charities El Paso.
However, the emphasis of Zamora’s social work career has been in providing rehabilitative services to adult and juvenile sex offenders. He worked as a sex offender therapist for over 16 years.
“The reason I decided to specialize in sex offender treatment is because not very many people want to go into that field, because of the nature of the offense that is committed,” said Zamora.
“As long as the courts permit, authorize…these individuals to be out on community corrections like probation or parole then,” added Zamora.
“I believe we should provide effective treatment to be able to help them never commit the offense again.
No more victims is the goal.
” The award recognizes NASW members that make a difference as a social worker.
It gives praise to individuals who work hard to maintain a positive image of the social worker profession and to those that take risks to make a difference in their community.
“It came as a surprise when I got the email that they had notified me that I was nominated for that award.
I wasn’t expecting it,” explained Zamora.
“It’s humbly accepted you might say. I don’t do it for recognition.
I do it because I believe it’s the right thing to do. It is nice to be acknowledged but it’s not for the award, it’s more for the purpose behind it.”
He currently oversees social work interns for Dismas Charities around the country and he is also very active in the college.
With actions and not words, Zamora is planting seeds of change in El Paso. Zamora has served as Director of Special Programs for the West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department and as Assistant Chief Juvenile Probation Officer with the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department.
He has prepared himself with the necessary education to help students pursuing a career in social work.
“Being able to see people actually change their life and not just temporarily you know, where they actually continue living a crime free life.” explained Zamora.