Posted Monday, November 9, 2020 by Rich Bowlen

Dear Social Workers, Thank You for Showing Up.

Social workers are some of the most resourceful, creative, and passionate people in the world. It’s just one of the reasons I’m so appreciative of your unwavering commitment to serve on the frontlines. 

No matter the circumstances, you’ve always risen to the occasion to prioritize your communities and, most importantly, keep kids, families, and communities safe—even more than usual in these past several months of uncertainty, isolation, and anxiety. Thank you for being a source of stability and strength for the families who rely on you.

All that said, I know it can be hard to stay positive and keep fighting given everything going on in the world right now. I want to share some stories and quotes about the amazing work that’s been done, as well as the support and encouragement that’s been provided, amid the pandemic in hopes that it helps boost your spirits on tough days.


A Love Letter to Social Workers on the Front Lines of COVID-19

Melanie Stage, assistant professor at the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, writes an encouraging letter to social workers who are unsung heroes, especially during a global pandemic. She shares stories from social workers who are going above and beyond despite their circumstances.

Read the letter

Social workers are there to make life worth living. 
They provide hope in the midst of loss, find resources for those who have none.”
Melanie Stage, Assistant Professor, University of Buffalo School of Social Work


Profiles of Hope and Courage: Children Services in the Era of COVID-19

Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) is collecting stories from the front lines of child protection to raise awareness of the challenges our children services professionals, and the families they serve, are facing during this pandemic. Despite all the changes in their daily lives, they remain hopeful and courageous. As the Foster Care and Community Engagement Coordinator for Marion County Children Services, Elizabeth Moore shares that despite the pandemic, she’s seen an increase in virtual meeting participation and more engagement from community partners.

Read Elizabeth’s story

“What’s been really cool is to look at how to do things better because we’ve had to change
how we do them. Some virtual meetings have allowed for more voices at the table.
People are better able to participate and there is no travel time.
We are continuing to adapt to meet the needs of the community.”
– Elizabeth Moore, Foster Care and Community Engagement Coordinator, Marion County Children Services


The Need for Social Workers, During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every area that social workers support—home life, finances, employment, relationships, and more—and brought to light how essential their work will continue to be, long after the virus is gone.

Read the full story

“As has been true after other pandemics and economic downturns, professionally trained social workers may be a key to helping people find their way in the new economy.”
– Wade Luquet, PhD, Social Work Program Director, GMercyU


A Front Line Social Worker’s Perspective on COVID-19

Cassidy Shemelia, a medical social worker at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, shares her thoughts regarding being a social worker during a pandemic. Despite the difficult circumstances, she still finds hope and encouragement. 

Read Cassidy’s story

“This time has been exhausting, but I have been encouraged by the generosity and helpful hand of many local agencies and businesses supporting front line workers. It’s heartwarming.”
– Cassidy Shemelia, Medical Social Worker, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center


Social Workers Are Hailed as Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

Social workers’ days have always been filled with long hours, high stress and trauma. Lately, the job demands for social workers have only increased. Nevertheless, they continue to answer the call of duty and have become the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the video or read the full story

“The passion social workers have to help these kids and families is always their top priority.
They never think about themselves first. It's always about how they can help the people they
work with and how can they help the kids who have just experienced
trauma and desperately need this extra level of support."
– Katy Buck, Director of Communications, D.A. Blodgett St. John's.


Social Work is Essential: Alumni Stories from the Pandemic’s Front Lines

University of Tennessee alumni share their social work stories regarding how they’ve been able to adapt to challenging situations and meet people where they are.

Read their stories

“I’ve changed my system to adapt to the context about 10 times,
and I’ve just got to be okay with that.”
— Jordan Frye, Community Schools Resource Coordinator, Great Schools Partnership


I’m a Social Worker, and I’m Facing the New Realities of My Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As a traveling medical social worker, Kunbi Oluwasusi reflects on her experiences during the pandemic and how this time of crisis reminds her why she chose to dedicate her career to social work.

Read Kunbi’s story

“Despite the inherent risks, I didn't even think of my job as putting myself in harm's way, and I still want to help and support people in any way that I can. This situation reminded me how inspiring it was to go to work every day with professionals who are truly giving their all to those around them.”
– Kunbi Oluwasusi, Traveling Medical Social Worker


Together, Mother And Daughter Social Workers Face New Challenges In A Pandemic

Lauren Magaña followed in her mother's footsteps when she became a social worker. It's been a most challenging year for both of them. They work mostly with elderly patients—those particularly vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. But Magaña and her mom, Michelle Huston, have been able to lean on one another. 

Read their story

"It has been tragic in ways that, unless you are in this business, would be hard to understand. You develop a relationship with these people and you kind of know how their families are feeling."
– Michelle Huston, Hospice Social Worker

divider-footerI hope you find these stories uplifting and encouraging. And if you have your own story or know of one regarding social workers finding or providing hope in difficult circumstances, please don't hesitate to share it. I'd love to hear it!


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Rich Bowlen, Vice President/Evangelist — Child Welfare Rich Bowlen’s goal is and always has been to give his very best day in and day out to do the most good for the most kids. As vice president/evangelist for child welfare, Rich serves as our national lead and advocate for child welfare and protective services. He’s the connector between Northwoods' employees and our child welfare partners, including agencies, advocacy groups, policymakers, court systems, state and local legislators, national industry leaders, and more.