Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions

Every year, the month of March has been designated by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as National Social Work Month.  During this designated month, social workers are highlighted and celebrated by communities and agencies for the dedication, commitment, and hard work that social workers exhibit every day.  This year, the NASW has themed the month Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions .  The role of social workers is often demanding and requires a special person for the job.  To many, it’s not just a “job.”  The job is not for everyone either.  Social workers often work tirelessly to make sure their clients and families are receiving the necessary assistance and tools to succeed.  In my nearly 18 years with Wolverine Human Services, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside many great social workers who were also mentors to me.  I’ve had the privilege to work with many children and families and see them succeed!  In child welfare and in many other areas in the field, sometimes clients do not ask for help.  They are working with social workers in an involuntary capacity.  Social workers are vital to whether children and families overcome their obstacles and experience success.  Social workers have the HUGE responsibility to be champions for their clients.   Oftentimes, social workers do not know the impact their advocacy has had on their clients.  While we are in their lives for a brief period of time, social workers do make a difference. At Wolverine Human Services, our mission is Helping Children To Be Victors, and that is what our social workers do every day.

Below is an excerpt from a story written by Loren Eiseley titled The Star Fish Story:

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out ‘Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?’

The young man paused, looked up, and replied ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean.’

‘I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’ asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.’

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, ‘But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!’

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, ‘It made a difference for that one.’