Happy National Social Work Month!
March is National Social Work Month and every year we have the opportunity to recognize the more than 600,000 social workers who are working across the United States to promote our professional values of social justice, the inherent dignity and worth of all persons, and the importance of human relationships.
This year’s theme is Forging Solutions Out of Challenges, which recognizes the work of Francis Perkins and other pioneering social workers who helped to secure safer working environments and better employment opportunities like minimum wages and Social Security benefits. We can continue to learn from the work of these pioneering social workers as we remain vigilant in our own efforts to secure better employment opportunities, such as by shoring up existing policies or forging new ones.
This month, you are invited to learn about and appreciate the ways that social workers are working across micro, mezzo, and macro practice areas to make a difference in the world. For example, the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW; of which KUSSW’s own Dr. Tom McDonald is a fellow) recently announced Grand Challenges for Social Work, which are intended to help the profession create a more just society by eradicating social isolation, stopping violence, ending homelessness, and reducing extreme inequality. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) recently released the 10th edition of the profession’s policy statements, which articulate the NASW’s positions and actions on issues including affirmative action, community development, mental health, racism, and women’s issues. The NASW also has a clearinghouse of information on topics relevant to areas of social work practice, like children and youth, school social work, aging, and private practice. Social work organizations including the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), Latino Social Workers Organization (LSWO), and the NASW’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues are working to share resources and knowledge for serving populations who have been historically overrepresented in and often underserved by social programs and policies. The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) provides networking opportunities for the profession’s activists, community organizers, nonprofit administrators, policy practitioners, and others. We are also connected to social workers throughout the global community by organizations like the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).
Here are a few other ways that you may consider participating in National Social Work Month:
- Say “thank you” to a social worker – coworker, classmate, practicum supervisor, field liaison, etc. – for the important work that they are doing. Find an opportunity to appreciate a fellow social worker’s important work and the contributions they are making.
- Recognize and validate your clients’ successes. Find an opportunity to appreciate a client’s hard work and progress.
- Learn about a new intervention that can be applicable to your social work practice.
- Check out the website for one of the social work organizations described above (AASWSW, NASW, NABSW, LSWO, ACOSA, IFSW, etc.) or learn about other social work organizations that can support your professional work.
- Read an NASW policy statement or a Grand Challenges for Social Work report.
- When you hear of a policy or piece of legislation being discussed in the news, ask yourself how it applies to your social work practice.
- Have a conversation with a fellow social work classmate or colleague about how they advocate for social justice in their day-to-day work with clients.
- Write a blog or an opinion editorial to create public awareness about the roles that social workers play in society.
- Write a letter to your local representative to advocate for policy change that can improve your clients’ lives.
Finally, to staff and faculty, thank you for helping the KUSSW to advance its mission of training the next generation of social workers. To students, welcome to this profession and may you become our great professional leaders of tomorrow.
Happy National Social Work Month.