Each March since 1966, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has celebrated National Professional Social Work Month. The original purpose of Social Work month was to:
” …spread public awareness and knowledge of the profession. And nearly half a century later, the intent is very much the same.
“Social Work Month is a way for everyone to recognize the profession — who social workers are and what they do,” said Rita Webb, NASW policy adviser for women and LGBT issues. “It’s a great opportunity to educate.”
In addition to the overarching purpose above each year also has a theme, to highlight a specific quality, or emphasis of social work practice:
“According to NASW gold member Betsy Vourlekis, co-chair of the NASW Social Work Pioneers®, the Social Work Month themes throughout the years have helped break down the different aspects of social work and shed some light on what the profession is about.”
There have been many varying themes since the Month’s inception, with this year’s theme being “Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy: The Power of Social Work.” The emphasis of this theme is to spread awareness of how our profession fosters hope within our clients, small and large, by fueling them with resiliency and advocacy. We help weave a safety net with which to catch those in need by gaining access to or connecting services, and help create positive futures by weaving together client stories into networks for change. This is one of the many ways in which Social Workers matter.
This year, NASW has put together a toolkit titled “100 Idea’s to Promote Social Work Month” to further the cause of this initiative. They break the toolkit into 10 concise areas in which we can promote the month. Here are these areas and a respective example:
1. Advocacy – Present social work issues to the state legislature.
2. Entertainment- Write a review on a TV program or film website, or their Facebook page.
3. Events – Host a social worker appreciation lunch at your workplace.
4. Media – Participate in a print, radio, TV or online media interview.
5. Partners- Review the NASW Annual Report for potential new local partners.
6. Profession- Attend a community event to network with non-social workers.
7. Publications- Publish your research results in a social science journal.
8. Research- Study a problem and promote tangible solutions in the media.
9. Social- Add social work visuals to Pinterest, Tumbler or other photo sharing sites.
10. Students– Offer an internship to a civic-minded high school student.
The above are all a great place to start to spread awareness of the social work profession and each section offers a variety of resources and support for those looking to do so. Throughout March, Social Justice Solutions will be celebrating Social Work Month by offering our readers a variety of entries to celebrate the month. We’ll be offering interviews with social workers throughout the profession, including pieces on how they view resiliency and advocacy.
BUT, WE CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU: We take guest submissions, so please feel free to share your own experiences of how you might be working to promote awareness of social work month, or doing any of their 100 ideas within our profession at any time. We will take these submissions and share them as part of our series.
SJS feels that we are an important thread in the social work network; connecting micro and macro, policy and research, media and social work, advocacy and internet, and much, much more. The key ingredient though is our readers, and we want you to KNOW that you are a part of that.
Written By Georgianna Reilly, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer