More than 700,000 social workers nationwide make life better for others, every day. The Oxford Dictionary defines Social Work as “work carried out by trained personnel with the aim of alleviating the conditions of those in need of help or welfare.” Social Workers empower people, providing the skills, resources, and encouragement needed to overcome life’s challenges.
Social workers can be found everywhere. They are in schools, helping children get the services they need to get the best possible education. They work in mental health centers, helping people overcome mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety and substance use disorders. Social workers protect children from neglect and abuse and help form new families through adoption. They work in hospitals, helping patients get the best possible care not only while in treatment, but when they return to their families and communities. And social workers help those cope with the loss of loved ones.
Social workers play a vital role in community organizations and local, state and federal governments, they help to create policies that help make society a better and more unbiased place for everyone.
For National Social Work Month, we honor those who have impacted the field of social work and made it what it is today:
- Jane Addams
- a young medical student that established the settlement movement in the U.S. This reformist social movement, spanning from the 1880s through to the 1920s in England and the U.S., had the goal of seeing rich and poor live together in a more integrated society. She co-founded Hull-House, America’s first settlement house, it wecomed recently arrived European immigrants in 1889 in Chicago’s West Side.
- Mary Church Terrell
- a teacher, world traveler, and multi-linguist. She partnered with Frederick Douglass to attempt to convince President Benjamin Harrison to condemn lynching, which helped lead to the Civil Rights movement. With others, she organized the Colored Women’s League of Washington D.C. and was the first president of the National Association of Colored women
- Whitney M. Young Jr.
- one of the nation’s early civil rights trailblazers. His commitment to social justice attracted him to social work and he became president of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the late 1960s. An expert in American race relations, Young was a key inspiration for President Johnson’s War on Poverty.
Help us in honoring the many people who work within the field of Social Work this March. Thank you for continuing to fight for equity and making life better for all.
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