• I’m entering the senior year of my BSW program, involving the completion of over 400 hours of field placement under supervision on-site and guided by professors throughout this process. I believe this time will b

  • ThumbnailMessage received: “It is perfectly acceptable in the United States of America for a white police officer to shoot down an unarmed black teen.”

    This is the word from Ferguson, Missouri, where there will be no

  • ThumbnailHow do we best empower clients? While working at a shelter for domestic violence victims—a haven for those seeking the independence that was stolen from them in their unhealthy relationships—I found that

  • ThumbnailI always ask myself this when I see school children who are clearly struggling, not just with their grasp of academic concepts, but with the fundamentals of life: the kids who are walking down the halls feeling

  • ThumbnailHazing is a term we hear a lot about with regard to college—bands, sports teams, fraternities and sororities—but it is also happening at social service agencies. Lately I have been talking to people at different

  • Thumbnail
    Kids are watching! We need to ask ourselves what kind of education environment our schools are creating for our youth, and what kind of examples we’re setting. Those who are in positions of authority need to

  • ThumbnailVolunteering as a student is one of the best ways to grow as a young professional. We may think we know what our interests are, but really we need to be considering all career possibilities. By volunteering for

  • ThumbnailThe agency where I work had a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) client who was particularly abrasive to my colleagues and me.  Our work environment became unsafe due to his physical and emotional outbursts.

  • Emotional-Abuse

    I will never forget the first time I had to file a “51A”, the form that must be filed with the social services agency if a parent is suspected of engaging in child abuse. This can lead to a child being removed from their parent’s custody. You don’t have to be a social worker to understand the emotional impact of filing a 51A.

    Confusion

    To me, the act is incomprehensible, whether physical or emotional. How could a mother treat her own child like that? Isn’t she supposed to be protective, understanding, and nurturing? Shouldn’t the mother instill trust in a child, so that she can be confident her child will always be truthful with her?

    Anger

    My inability to understand how a mother could think anything else stirred up a lot of anger. Drawing from my own experiences, it pains me to see a child fall victim to abuse. A child is so helpless, and for a parent to betray her role as the protector is inexcusable.

    Guilt

    That doesn’t mean filing the form was easy. Somewhere in this cloud of emotions, guilt crept in. As a professional, I had to decide whether my judgment was good enough, since it might lead to the enforced dissolution of this family, however dismal that “family” appeared. It is easy to assume that the best course would to remove the child, but I’m still an outsider coming into someone else’s world. Who am I to decide whether or not this child is taken away from their mother?  I’ll never forget the look on this woman’s face when we told her we had filed the form. She instantly began to cry and pleaded that we didn’t take her children away

    Empathy

    We try to use empathy as a tool to manage guilt. In this particular case, I tried to understand the challenges the mother was constantly up against.  Here was this single mother who was fleeing a domestic violence relationship herself, working a full time job, and living a communal situation with people who didn’t speak her language or understand her culture.

    Acceptance

    At the end of the day I made the call and knew it was the right thing to do. We explained to the mother that an investigation would take place and the department would assist in finding resources that would help her family.  My take-away: set aside your personal opinions and feelings, and always remember victims are those who don’t have control—the kids.

  • ThumbnailAs a person of color attending a predominantly white school I often was subject to bullying—especially in a school in which the principal did almost nothing to address these problems. But this wasn’t the only

  • Personal experiences often inform the path we take in social work. For me, I know that I want to work with adolescents, because that was a particularly difficult time in my life.

    As a child, I struggled being a

  • When I say that I am pursuing a career in social work, I tend to get a mixed bag of reactions.  People try to talk me out of it. “Your life is going to be so depressing,” theyFrom charliesaidthat.com say, or “you’ll burn out so fast,” or, my personal favorite, the threat of making “crap money.”  Who is creating these negative associations with social work?  Is it the media?

    Not that it’s nothing but negativity–in fact, the negatives are about tied with the positives. Family and friends admit that this is not a line of work for just anyone, and are thankful that some people are dedicated to serving our communities and empowering individuals. They recognize that people have difficult issues, and can’t advocate for themselves or find resources they require.

    To me, social work isn’t a job, it’s my calling. People are right–it may be depressing and exhausting.  It’s not something that can be forced, but instead must come from something deeper inside of you.