As part of our Marketing duties, we travel the country talking to caseworkers and social workers. In those travels, we’ve asked dozens of people the same four questions about what it means to be in social work.
- Why did you go into social work?
- What is the most challenging thing about social work?
- What stereotype about social work would you clear up?
- What is the best thing about social work?
In honor of Social Work Month 2016, we’re sharing a snapshot of the answers we’ve received each Friday in March. Read the quotes or watch a quick video below to hear the great responses to the first question:
Why did you go into social work?
We’d love to hear from you too. Tell us why you went into social work in the comments section below.
“I have always wanted to be in the service field. I think you’re just born a social worker, or not. I love helping people. I love being around people, especially the elderly. I love some old people. They are just sweet and kind and you can learn so much from just sitting down with an elderly person.”
- Kristen Hamilton, Adult Services Social Worker, Beaufort County Department of Social Services, North Carolina
“To help people. I think that’s why most social workers get into it is because we think we can save the world. And then our dream is quickly squashed when we learn differently. That’s the real reason, obviously that I wanted to help. And I really enjoy teenagers so a lot of my caseload is teenagers.”
- Jennifer Young, Program Specialist, Clark County Family and Children Services, Ohio
“When I was 15, I remember wanting these jeans and they were really expensive and my mom and dad said you’re going to have to work and get them. So that summer that’s what I was doing and there was a place right across the street called King Chicken. I remember going in there with my sister to get lunch and there was this man in the trash can, eating out of the trash can. And so you know how you know things exist, but until you see it, you don’t get it? At that age I learned a pair of jeans is not the most important thing in the world because this man is eating out of a trash can. And so I didn’t know that it was social work, but I just knew I wanted to do something that would help people.”
- Lisa Gibbs-Lee, Children's Services Supervisor, Beaufort County Department of Social Services, North Carolina
“I think I went into social work because I wanted to help people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had growing up. I was fortunate enough to live in a caring loving family and my mother’s a nurse and my father is a teacher, so I came by caregiving easily. And social work gave me the opportunity to look at lots of different facets of life.”
- Lynda Erickson, Family Services Supervisor, Crow Wing County Community Services, Minnesota
“I felt like I wanted to be involved in helping people who need help. Because we all need help at some point and I just wanted to be a part of that.”
- Cheryl Hollifield, Child Protective Services Supervisor,
Beaufort County Department of Social Services, North Carolina
“I know this is a really difficult process for families and so my goal is to make it less bad for them and less hard for them.”
- Sue DeBuhr, Initial Assessment Social Worker, Dane County Department of Human Services, Wisconsin
“Being able to make a difference in people’s lives regardless of what function I’m in. I’ve done a little bit of everything in my 26 years here. I’ve been a frontline caseworker. I’ve been a frontline supervisor, and now the administrator. I think that regardless of what I’m doing from the day I started to what I’m doing now, the reason I started is the same.”
- Tracey Kincaid, Economic Services and Child Support Administrator,
Burke County Department of Social Services, North Carolina
“I just felt, over the years, this need to keep shining this light on these issues that are not going away, but are actually getting worse in many respects in our country. So that’s what kept me going all these years.”
- Julie Ahnen, Manager of Child Protective Services, Dane County Department of Human Services, Wisconsin
“I got into social work because I believe in the power of the human spirit. I believe that people can really overcome insurmountable odds if they are connected with the right resources and the right people. I really believe that.”
- Kaylo Brooks, Child Welfare Social Worker, Crow Wing County Community Service, Minnesota
“I’ve been working in the human services field for the last 30 years and I love it. You don’t get rich doing it, but it’s the most rewarding thing, and probably the most difficult thing. I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t realize how hard it would be at the time. But, I’ve always had a passion for people and for wanting life to be better.”
- Kathy Delaney, Family Preservation Social Worker, Crow Wing County Community Services, Minnesota
Tiffany Himmelreich is the Director of Marketing for Northwoods. Her favorite part of her job is visiting Northwoods customers and talking to social workers because their job is tough and amazing and terrifying and she loves helping tell their stories.
In honor of Social Work Month 2016, we’re sharing a snapshot of social workers' answers to four questions about social work each Friday in March. First up: Why did you go into social work?