Why did I become a social worker?

14 Jul

By Erin Michel

NASW Ohio Chapter Educational Coordinator

During my endeavor to create a documentary about social workers, I kept hearing from those I interviewed that they didn’t necessarily seek out a degree in social work. One social worker typified these responses when she said, “I got into social work almost by accident.” I also am among those who did not visualize my future career as a social worker. When I was deciding a career path, the question for me was, “who do I want to help and how can I help them?” Whether it was as a family member, friend, or stranger, I found myself in positions where I wanted to help people but felt I did not have the skills and knowledge to do so. I remember as a child confronting bullies and standing up for those who were suffering. That same passion has remained with me into adulthood, and I continue to strive to empower others.

I feel that my education in social work, which was more challenging some may think, has not only put the tools in my hands to empower others, but it has also empowered me. Prior to earning my Master’s in Social Work, I could not have imagined testifying before the Ohio Senate; I would not have been able to synergize with other social workers, who had the same passion for social justice that I do, to address complex problems; and I would not otherwise have had the means to produce an independently-funded and -organized public awareness film.

So now when I ask the question, “who can I help?” I feel I have the means to make a substantial impression and potentially far-reaching impact on the lives of those I serve and the community in which I live.

Now I will ask you a question – How has social work empowered you and those you serve?

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