Maria Gurren, MSSW, CSW, works as a Public Protection Coordinator for the Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission where she coordinates efforts to improve equity and outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.
Maria became a social worker because she is passionate about social justice and using her empathy, compassion, and skill in connecting with people to improve the lives of others. After graduating from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in Psychology, Maria worked as a youth counselor at Maryhurst before pursuing her Masters of Science at the Kent School of Social Work. While in graduate school, Maria completed her practicum at Restorative Justice Louisville (RJL), a non-profit organization that uses restorative justice practices to resolve cases diverted from juvenile court. As an intern in the early years of this organization, Maria had the opportunity to participate in the process of building a new non-profit organization. She was also trained in Family-Group Conferencing and facilitated meetings between young people charged with crimes and those harmed by their actions and assisted in the development of a resolution that made things right for the victim while preventing youth from developing a criminal record. Maria learned a great deal about the juvenile justice system and the many obstacles faced by families involved with the system face. She continued learning as a Case Manager for the Right Turn Program where she assisted justice-involved youth in accessing services, finding employment, and reaching their goals. Although she greatly enjoyed working directly with youth and families and spending time in the community every day, she could not pass up the opportunity to have a more systemic impact working at the policy level in her current role.
Maria currently serves as the President of the Associate Board for Nativity Academy, a Catholic middle school providing private education to students from low-income families. Maria is active in her neighborhood as a board member of the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association and still serves as a volunteer facilitator for RJL.
When she is not working or volunteering, Maria enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, doing yoga, and spending time with her friends and her dog Charley.