In honor of National Social Work Month and National Social Worker Day, we asked our staff what being a social worker means to them. Read and listen to their responses below!
Katie Demmler – LCSW for Youth and Family Services
"Working in a non-profit as a social worker has given me the ability to help people in need and enhance the recognition of human relationships, family systems & family resiliency. Social work means building meaningful connections, learning from people that are different from you, earning the trust of strangers and being a vocal and/or silent support to those who may be struggling. Social work is making a difference in someone’s life by empowering them to believe in one’s self!"
Cori Dunton - MSW
"For me, the most impactful aspect of being a Social Worker is the fact that the entire profession is rooted in upholding the dignity and worth of every human. This isn't something we do in addition to our work; THIS is the work! Every day I get the privilege of walking alongside individuals, supporting them in building a life full of love, safety, and joy. I rarely do this job perfectly, but perfection is not the goal. The goal is to be constantly learning, growing, and implementing new practices to better support the incredible individuals who have welcomed me into their world."
Click on the image or here to listen to Cori's response.
Christie Yorty – Strengthening Families Program Director
"Being a social worker is a challenging but rewarding profession. We’re in the business of people and relationships and I always fulfilled at the end of the day. I’m grateful to be a social worker and all that it has taught me about being compassionate, empathetic, relatable, and human."
Naomi Suskind – LCSW Our Safe Place
"It’s National Social Work month! Have you hugged a social worker today? Probably not, but maybe In your pod, or socially distanced or via zoom? If you haven’t, show some love! Social work and social workers have been called upon the moment this past year, as have we all, and will continue to be way into the future. The reach has been far and wide - From caring for COVID patients and families to advocating and activisting for racial justice, equity, and anti-racist work, to teaching and mentoring others into the profession. The list goes on and on. It’s a dynamic and complex field that functions at all levels and in many settings complete with its own dark history and deep imperfections. Like all of our institutions, it has its roots deep in racism, classism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, and white supremacy. It also has many current flaws in trying to work within systems that are designed to support some and marginalize more.
What is fundamentally amazing about social work and its purveyors, is that it is also a very reflexive process. Social Workers themselves are some of the harshest, most honest critics and challengers of the field and keep it growing and evolving in an effort to meet the needs of the many versus the some.
The work is endless, often thankless, exhausting, and some of the most powerful, poignant, and groundbreaking out there. It may not be perfect, but it’s not trying to be. At its core, social work is the work of, and by, people caring for people. And I am proud to be a part of that legacy every day."
Amanda MSW, ACSW – Associate Executive Director
"Social Work means learning to treasure success, however small. It means constantly seeking to uncover the inherent strengths of others. It means triumph and transformation. It means always believing and never giving up hope."
"Whew, what does being a social worker mean… to some it’s “oh, so you snatch kids from their homes?” “wow…” or my favorite “are you analyzing me right now?”. If a profession could be more grossly misrepresented, social work is it! I was surprised, once I fully immersed myself into the work, how most people are misinformed and clueless. To be brutally honest, there are days where I feel completely clueless and ask myself “what the hell am I doing?!” …. But with continued self-reflection and support, here is my attempt at what being a social worker means to me.
It means having an authentic dialog with a person, opening up old wounds, and talking about trauma, mental illness, poverty, family dysfunction, racism, sexual assault, home instability-among various other topics. It means creating and holding a safe space with a complete absence of judgment.
In those moments, it means building a genuine connection with resilient individuals. It means that not having a solution to every problem is okay and that sometimes your services aren’t warranted, which is okay too. It means that through the missteps along the way a person may have experienced, being the one person to show up in their time of need when no one else would.
Social work is a lot of things. To me being a social worker is the most incredible experience I have ever had. It is my superpower!"
Click on the image or here to listen to Alexx's response.