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Social Workers Meet Up

17 Aug

By Cindy Webb, MSSA, LISW-S

Executive Director

I have spoken with many of you who feel isolated, frustrated with your work situation and have no outlets to talk to others who may understand your situation, or you are just seeking to meet other social workers in your community to share experiences, information, and to find mutual support.   For that reason, NASW-OH has created a way to join with other social workers in your community around interests, concerns, or just to hang-out.  In our digital age we are seeking real life connections.  If you are interested in finding or setting up a Meet Up in your community go to

Whether you are looking to become part of the social work community, or you are searching for professional development to enhance your career opportunities locally or abroad, attend a NASW-OH Meet Up.

Call Yourself a ‘Social Worker’ !

26 Jul

DanielleBy Danielle Smith, MSW, MA, LSW

NASW Ohio Chapter Services Coordinator

How often have you heard someone say “Well, I used to be a social worker but I am doing policy work now” or introduce themselves only by their job title of “therapist, counselor, caseworker, etc.?” I hear it all the time and I find it frustrating. If we do not identify ourselves as social workers- how will we ever get the recognition that we deserve?

As a social worker, I am proud of the title I have earned through my education, my license, and my experience. I am a part of a profession that shaped the country and the world we live in for over one hundred years. I am proud to be in the same profession as Jane Addams, Frances Perkins, Jeanette Rankin, and Dorothy Height. To me, after earning your social work degree you are a social worker for life. If I worked at McDonald’s I would identify myself as a social worker because it is who I am not just what I do. No matter where I am employed in the future- whether it be a direct service agency, the Statehouse, or in non-profit management- I will be a social worker because I was educated to be a social worker with a system of values and ethics that govern me as a professional.

If you are a social worker I hope that you will call yourself one. We must build pride in our profession and awareness of the great work that we do everyday in the public.

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?

My Experience at the NASW

13 Jul

By Sarah Luker

NASW Ohio Chapter Intern

Being an intern at the NASW Ohio chapter is no walk in the park. Coming from Bowling Green Ohio to the grand downtown of Columbus was quite an adjustment I had to make. Not only this but, I had to prepare myself for a nine to five work day and getting up at a time where, in college, I would usually be going to bed.

Although it was a bit hard for me to adjust at first, being at the NASW has been rewarding in many ways. I have been able to understand the social work profession better than I ever thought that I would. I also never knew about all the coalitions and committees that the NASW is apart of, and how hard the staff works in order to make a difference in the profession and in the community.

Being an intern at the NASW has also changed my mind about CEU’s. Before becoming an intern I disliked the idea of them and the fact I had to do more work once I graduated college. I now truly think that CEU’s are needed in our profession because they are an essential way we keep up to date on new interventions/ strategies and being better able to serve others.

I think though that the most important thing that I am going to walk away with is a sense of pride for social work that I never had before. I have always loved this profession and what it does to change communities and help people, but never like this before. When people asked what my major was and what I wanted to do I would shyly answer their questions, because I knew what people thought of social workers and I didn’t want others to judge me based on my line of work. I know that the general public does not understand what we as social workers do or why we do it, but I’m not afraid to stand up for myself and the profession anymore. I have now put myself in a position where I try to change peoples mind about social workers, where I can be a teacher to those who do not understand. I personally carry this philosophy with me every where I go because you never know who you are going to run into.


6 Jul

By Rebecca Sanford, LISW-S

NASW Ohio Chapter Board President

Every year at this time, NASW Ohio Chapter prepares to usher in a new year of leadership. The leadership of the Chapter meets every July to welcome new leaders, review where we have been over the past year, and plan for where we would like to go over the upcoming year. It’s an exciting time filled with new enthusiasm, energy, and ideas.

The leadership of the NASW Ohio Chapter Board of Directors and our 8 Committees change each year. It’s always an exciting time to see where the leadership will take the Chapter. But this constant changing means that we need a solid foundation to make sure we don’t lose sight of our mission and goals. Our solid foundation is our Strategic Plan. You can find our Strategic Plan here.

The Strategic Plan is a guide for where we want to see the Chapter move in the future. It gives us direction and helps us to remain focused as we carry out the day-to-day tasks of our leadership roles. It also helps to ensure that all leaders, regardless of their position in leadership, have a shared understanding of what is important to the Chapter and where our energies need to be focused.

When the 2010-2011 Chapter leadership meets next week, we will review the Strategic Plan and create action steps for the upcoming year. I encourage you to visit the Chapter website for updates.

I am thrilled to welcome new NASW members to the Chapter leadership. I look forward to working with each of you over the upcoming year and truly appreciate your willingness to step up to the responsibility and challenge of becoming a leader with your professional organization.

And of course, it is with great gratitude that we will also be saying goodbye to outgoing Chapter leadership. Your contributions have been priceless. We would not be where we are today without your support.

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” ~Howard Zinn

A Vision for Improving the Image of Social Work

25 Jun

By Erin Michel

NASW Ohio Chapter Education Coordinator

I have told this story before, but it never ceases to amaze me how this project unfolded. In a staff meeting at NASW, we were talking about how to change the image of social work so that it better reflected who we are and what we do. Someone suggested perhaps a video we can share with others would help communicate this message. I had a vision of the messages I wanted others to know about social work and those we serve.

The day before this meeting, I read an article in Ohio State’s Lantern newspaper about Harry Locke, a student who had made two full-length films. I remembered the article so well because he was from the South Side of Chicago, which is my favorite city. By chance, I kept the newspaper in my bag after reading it, and when I pulled it out during the meeting, I reread the statement given by his best friend Walter, “When it comes to people being driven and needing to get something done, you really couldn’t find anyone better to have in your corner.”

Harry Locke and Erin Michel celebrate after the premiere of the film "Moving Our World Forward"

I took this as more than a coincidence and contacted Harry to work on a film project, which I had yet to develop a plan for. Thankfully, it didn’t take much convincing and Harry agreed to help me produce this film. I took Walter’s word for it, and he surely was right about Harry.I knew I only had two more quarters left in graduate school, so this project had to be put on a tight timeline with clear goals and objectives. I also knew I would need to fund this project somehow. Thankfully, very generous people at several universities and colleges throughout the state of Ohio supported this film project and my vision.

In addition to interviewing social workers in Columbus for several weeks, we traveled to Cleveland over spring break and to Cincinnati the following Friday. This project had several phases, fundraising, grant writing, contacting participants, traveling to interviews, composing the content of the film, and organizing the premiere screening. Looking back on this experience, it is astounding to me to realize that all of this was completed in less than six months.

What amazes me the most is that despite a few minor setbacks, the process of creating Moving Our World Forward met the benchmarks we set for it and the vision I started with was captured in the final product.

I am very grateful for this experience, which was possible through the support at the National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Chapter.