Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Therapist, Utopia Home Care, Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services
Favorite Professor: Irene Lapidis
Chose Adelphi for: Its strong social work program and flexible schedules
Recipient of: “Distinguished Alumna Award” from the Adelphi University Multicultural Alumni Chapter at the second annual Latino Dinner Dance in 2005
Advice to Adelphi students: “Take advantage of internships and field placements. There is no substitute for experience.”
For Angelina ’90, M.S.W. ’93, and Manuel Martinez, M.B.A. ’74, family and business are notably intertwined.
The Martinez family founded Utopia Home Care in 1983, after Mr. Martinez was downsized from him position as a systems analyst. Mr. Martinez had long thought of operating a home health care business, and Ms. Martinez reflects: “I really wanted to help him get something of his own.”
Today Utopia, run by their four children, employs over 1,400 people in three states. It is also the largest minority owned business on Long Island, and ranks as one of the region’s fastest growing businesses.
What began as one family’s dream has grown into a family-run business that is anything but small. And yet, it was made possible by a simple pact between Mr. and Mrs. Martinez. Facing the daunting challenge and significant risk of founding a business, they also placed a priority on providing necessities such as insurance for their children.
Together, they decided that the first spouse to find a good job would take it, and leave the other to run their fledgling business. So, Ms. Martinez took the Civil Service exam and was soon hired by the Department of Social Services in Hauppauge.
In the midst of supporting and raising a family of four, a struggling home business, and a full-time job Ms. Martinez decided to act on her ambition to become a therapist. She began taking social work classes at Adelphi’s Hauppauge extension site while working in the area, and earned her B.S.W. in 1990. That September, she became a caseworker for Child Protective Services.
In 1993, she earned her M.S.W. from Adelphi and began working as a bereavement counselor with South Shore Hospice. “Most people think this is really hard work,” she says. But, for her, it’s a labor of love. “We were really able to help people move through very difficult times in their lives.”
Ms. Martinez remembers helping one hospice patient who was so terrified of death that she refused to leave her chair and go to bed. Mrs. Martinez and the hospice team worked tirelessly to help her accept her condition, and provide peaceful final months for her and her family.
In 1996, with Utopia Home Care flourishing, Mrs. Martinez re-joined the rest of her family, and fulfilled her life long goal of being a therapist with her own practice. Her child and family counseling practice is located at Utopia’s headquarters.
Mrs. Martinez’s years of dedication have been honored repeatedly. She has been president of the National Association of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Social Workers since 1999, and was honored as “Social Worker of the Year” in 1998. She is also a member of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, and was awarded the honor of “Woman of the Year in 1996.” She is a member of the Child Care Council of Suffolk County, and received the “American Hispanic Woman Leadership Award” from the Suffolk County Executive Hispanic Advisory Board.
Mrs. Martinez remains active in the health care field, and works actively with the Hispanic community on Long Island. She is committed to bettering the lives of children, and is a strong advocate of education at all levels. She and her husband live in Northport, and enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren. They frequently travel to South America with the Amigos de la Zarzuela, a group that supports Spanish operetta.