Valued and Understood

From an early age, there were two words that remained at the forefront as I thought of the career I wanted to pursue and the woman I wanted be – these two words were always clear, even when my career path was uncertain. I knew I wanted to live this life showing others that they are valued and understood.

While I am unsure of exactly when these two words were planted, I can distinctly picture a moment when this goal took root. As a high schooler, I volunteered at a local retirement home. My role was to lead social activities with the residents. One afternoon, I passed by the media room where a group of women were watching a black and white movie. The room was filled with laughter and conversation. When I took a closer look, I noticed a woman sitting in the far left corner of the room in her wheelchair. She caught my eye. While everyone was enjoying the movie and each other’s company, this woman seemed excluded. She did not talk and no one was speaking with her. Naturally, I went over to chat with this sweet woman. I don’t recall what we talked about but I vividly remember laughing and enjoying the conversation we had together. When we finished, the woman smiled and said “You’re the first person who talked to me all week.” This struck me as I volunteered on Fridays. In that moment, my heart was set on fire to uncover exclusion, in its various forms, and show people that they are indeed valued and understood.

From that defining moment, it took years to discover the field that would allow me to wholeheartedly pursue this goal. Every one of those years has graced me with new insight, new challenges, and a zeal for bringing this passion to life with an open mind and an eager and excited spirit.

My hope for this blog is to share the privileges of knowledge gained and passion discovered to advance not only social work values but to bring light to how we can speak to the little social worker in all of us. The principles of social work will enhance any career because it is grounded in the basic needs of all people: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.

Welcome to the blog! Thank you for coming.

What sets your heart on fire? What led you to your career?