The theme of this year’s Social Work Month is #SocialWorkersAreEssential, and JFS is spotlighting our own essential social workers from around the agency! You’ll get a peek into an average day, hear why they decided to become a social worker, and learn what it takes to do the job. Please join us in honoring and thanking them for their dedication to Transforming Lives and Strengthening our Community!
Jessica, JFS Adoption Social Worker
“As a freshman in college, I thought I was going to be a teacher. Then, I realized I may not have the stamina to teach children all day long. I found a career that allows me to help families and children in many ways. Social work is incredibly flexible, and there are so many avenues within the profession.
A social worker must be empathetic, flexible, and open to learning. To me, the heart of the job is connecting people to something to help better their lives, whether that’s therapy, resources, education, or services.
Every day is different, which keeps me on my toes. I might meet with a client for counseling, console an adoptive parent, meet with a birth mother, complete a report, audit files to make sure they are compliant with licensing standards, work with an intern, meet with staff. I love the variety!”
Frank, JFS Care Management Social Worker
“Social work is a calling I was drawn to at a young age. I wanted to be able to help people struggling to help themselves – to be a voice for social justice and an advocate for the most vulnerable populations that are taken advantage of and dismissed. To me, social work means being a change agent in someone’s life and helping people in need help themselves.
There is no average day in Care Management when you’re working with clients. They dictate how your day flows. Besides working with clients and staff, I also field new client intakes as they come in. I supervise student interns daily, as well as encourage and assist staff as we help resolve clients’ issues. This is just a little glimpse into the world of my “average” day as a social worker at JFS.”
Charlotte, JFS Public Guardianship Social Worker
“I saw a lot of unaddressed needs among my peers and in my community. I always tried to help people get connected to supports and resources, so I decided to go to school to get the knowledge and tools to do it more efficiently.
First and foremost, a great social worker needs to be an advocate. Whether it’s supporting someone directly or trying to affect change in larger systems, there is always a need to use our voices to echo and amplify those who are not being heard.
Practicing social work means being ready for anything! Every day brings a new challenge. Sometimes we’re coordinating services, sometimes we’re cleaning up messes, and sometimes we’re just there to provide a sympathetic ear and a hand to hold.”
Ellen, JFS Counseling Social Worker
“I am so proud to be a social worker. I’ve been a social worker at JFS for almost 32 years. Social work is a second profession for me. I became interested in counseling after volunteering for a crisis hotline for five years. I went back to school and earned my Master of Social Work degree at VCU at the age of 40.
To be a social worker, you have to be compassionate, a good listener, and have healthy boundaries. What’s the meaning of social work? Tikkun Olam – “repairing the world one person at a time.” For me, that’s what social work is.”