March is Social Work Month. The theme for 2022 is “The Time is Right for Social Work”. This month is a great opportunity for previous, current, and future social workers to spread awareness about the profession. According to the National Association of Social Workers [NASW] (n.d.b.), social work is considered to be a helping profession. Social workers enhance the lives of human beings, particularly those who are vulnerable or oppressed. There are over 600,000 social workers in the United States working to fight against injustice and to improve the lives of all people. Social workers can be found in a variety of settings that include rehab facilities, prisons, military bases, corporations, hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, senior centers, and more (NASW, n.d.a.).
The social work profession in the United States began when Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House in 1889. Hull House was a settlement house that taught people in the neighborhood basic skills, literature, job training, English, cooking, and more (Michals, 2017). The settlement house was very successful and helped the poor on Chicago’s west side. Addams’ lobbying for better sanitation laws, labor protection, and a juvenile court system helped her to become the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 (Michals, 2017). Addams and Gates Starr really set the tone for social work progress in the United States.
I have had a passion for the social work profession for the last 10 years. In 2020, I finally decided that I wanted to pursue my Master in Social Work degree. The pandemic has put a lot of things in life into perspective for me. When the opportunity came for me to go back to school for social work, I decided to follow my dreams and invest in my future. I believe my passion for social work comes from my family. Growing up, we had a lot of opportunities in life that I am grateful for. As I got older, I struggled a lot as a single mother. My family helped me to come back from a dark and difficult time in my life. They lifted me up emotionally and helped me financially to get back on my feet. Without my family I do not know where I would be. My mother is a very compassionate woman and I hope that someday I will be able to affect others the way she has affected me. No one should have to struggle in life and I hope that someday I will have the same impact on someone’s life as my family has had on mine. I am interested in the area of mental health. I hope to work with clients at one of the state’s psychiatric facilities after graduation.
Social workers have become more important since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increased isolation, depression, and anxiety faced by so many individuals (Deering, 2020). The pandemic has impacted people in different ways. For some, it created hardships that have made it difficult for people to bounce back. For myself and for others, we decided to take this time to make positive changes and to invest in ourselves. Whether it is helping clients to set goals or creating assessments and interventions, social workers work to advocate for all human beings. They believe in equality and equity. Social workers work to enhance the lives and the environment of their clients (NASW, n.d.b.). If you know any social workers, consider taking time to thank them for the job they do. The world can always use more social workers.
If you are interested in a career in social work, please visit the website for the National Association of Social Workers https://www.socialworkers.org/.
Deering, M. (2020, August 18). The role of social workers during covid-19. Social Work Guide. https://www.socialworkguide.org/resources/the-role-of-social-workers-during-covid-19/