My friends are neatly divided in to two groups: social workers and teachers. Ok, I also have a couple nurses on the roster, but otherwise I am not exaggerating. I suppose I just really need some purposeful, intelligent and hard-working women in my life because that’s who I’ve got in my social circle.
I try hard not to stare too incredulously as I listen to their jobs. I try to keep my “I don’t know how you do it” comments to a minimum. I’m sure it gets very old and it’s not like I’m volunteering for the job. I couldn’t handle the heartache, I just know it. We all have our superpowers, and staring down child abuse is not one of mine.
I’m really grateful for the firemen and policeman who run in to danger and not away from it like the rest of us. But it’s Social Work Month and I really just want to give a cookie and a hug to all the social workers who are on-call for the most disturbing situations, who see filth and hurt, anguish and torment and keep going.
So thank you. Thank you – a lot.
I checked out the National Social Worker’s Association website for ideas on how to thank a social worker practically. The site had a complete package with tools and resources from a letter writing campaign, promotional merchandise, logos and more to help promote Social Work Month. I looked through the material and and found this somewhat-to-the-point sentence:
“Contact your local and state lawmakers to make sure hospitals, schools and other agencies have enough social workers on staff to provide needed services and these social workers are properly compensated.”
I’m not sure what the next step would be in determining if my local agencies have enough social workers who are being properly compensated. But I do think there are ways to do our part without banging down the legislative door (or perhaps, in addition to that) such as:
- Get to know your local social agencies. From housing to child abuse prevention to physical disabilities, there are many agencies who are supporting our community. Find out who they are, what they do and what they need to keep being amazing.
- Attend their events. Get to know these agencies by attending their events, seeing firsthand the work they do, get to know the people who never give up and never give in. These are great opportunities to ask questions and find ways to get involved.
- Donate. This seems like a no-brainer, but when in doubt, put $5 or $10 in an envelope and make a small difference. Every little bit helps – seriously. It helps the people in our community and it helps the social workers who serve them.
- Volunteer. Have no money? I can relate. Find a way to volunteer your time or talents – there are many ways you can help even if you don’t have the funds to donate.
It’s really too bad we don’t celebrate this workforce of extraordinary individuals the way we celebrate nurses and teachers. All of those professions are so important and I know I am personally grateful for the people in my community who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and get involved. So thank you again and know that you I salute you.