1. What attracts you to the field of social work?
I have always been deeply committed to helping others, especially helping those who come from similar backgrounds such as mine. Several experiences have stimulated my attraction to the field of social work. The first step towards my passion to study social work was formed when I was about four. My parents were unfit to raise my siblings and me, which consequently led to foster care. At age four I had no idea that day would lead me on the path of becoming an effective agent for social work. While in foster care, I met some amazing social workers who went beyond the call of duty. My social workers were talented, committed, and hard working. As I became older, my interest in social work grew. I started asking my social workers how do I become a social worker. In so many words, they explained that I have to do well in school, and go to college. While in college, I can major in the field of social work or closely related field. My social workers were my first insight to what a social worker is and what a social worker does. The fact that my social workers were committed to my well-being and pushed me to my full potentials demonstrated their concern for me as well as their ethical commitment. Secondly, are the three premises on which social work is based on. Which are very straightforward. First is that the person or group is important. The person or group has a problem that may arise from many different factors, and lastly finding a solution to help solve those problems so that person or group can live a better life. Finally, is the range of opportunities for a social worker in the field of social work. Social workers can be found in hospital, schools, community health agencies, and international organizations just to name a few. I give my social workers credit for the knowledge they have shared with me as well as encouraging me to reach my personal goals to become a social worker.
2. What influences, persons, or work/life experiences guide your choice of social work as a profession?
I have not always been the strong confident person I am today. My outside involvements were my social workers, and independent living coordinator. They play a huge role in my influence to study social work and to become a social worker. Sometimes I often wonder
how different my life would be now without my social workers involvement. I adopted many things from my social workers, things such as how to be compassionate and caring towards others, how to set and reach my goals, as well as how to be a hard worker.
Some people fail to realize the impact of encouraging words to others. I can remember when I was in the twelfth grade my social worker Tameko was picking my sister and me up from school to help us fill out some important paper work for college. On the way home, she explained to us that we are smart and beautiful girls who can be anything we put our minds to. Do not let our circumstances define who we are. That moment of encouragement has not only stuck with me but has changed the way I think about my life. I then realized that I determine my future and should not be ashamed of my parents mishaps. Studies show that the cycle of poverty repeats it self for at least three generations. I new at a young age I did not want to repeat the cycle of abuse, poverty, and addiction so I worked hard to accomplish my goals. In practice, I have had an opportunity to work with Independent Living Program. Which is a program that helps youth ages 14-21 with career training, educational opportunities, personal finance, job-hunting skills, independence skills, and so much more. I also took a Counseling Practicum class, which gave me an opportunity to observe and experience working within the Augusta Pregnancy Center. Which is a non-profit agency that provides services to women who are facing challenging situations? In this course, I was able to learn the specific skills required to care for the women and their unborn child, ethical principles, and ethical standards. These experiences has only increased me love for the field of social work and given me valuable experiences working with women and children.
3. Discuss personal strengths you possess which will make you an effective helping person.
I chose social work, but in retrospect, I think social work chose me too. I often wonder what kind of career I would be interested in if I was never in foster care. My own personal background would make me an effective helping person. Growing up in the foster care system I will be able to relate to the youth and families I will be serving. I know what it feels like to be sent to different foster families. I know how it feels being afraid to trust people and being afraid to talk about being in foster care. I believe that children who have been abused and neglected find it difficult to trust people. I believer children in foster care would feel a sense of understanding, being that I have came from similar backgrounds. My personal strengths that I posse are the willingness to help others unconditionally. My social workers were very committed to me, and I want to share that same commitment with others who are vulnerable. My experience has taught me how to be non-judgmental, how to demonstrate empathy, and how my improbable journey can inspire others. In addition, my undergraduate study in Psychology-Counseling has provided me with a better understanding of why people think, feel, and act the way they do. I believe that understanding the behaviors of people is very important tool to posses in the fields of social work. I also understand the importance of volunteering to help improve my community and neighborhood. I am currently a foster care club member as well as an on line message board member for foster care. I also volunteer in the Jefferson County Public School system and Woodhaven Place social committee. Volunteering is one of my most rewarding experiences for me and it gives me an opportunity to help my community as well as gaining skills to better help others. With my experiences during my undergraduate studies and currently I know that social work as a profession is ideal for me.
4 Discuss your vulnerabilities as these influence your development as a professional social worker. Specifically discuss any history of substance abuse, problems in a work setting, criminal activity, and/or help-seeking for personal issues.
We are all vulnerable at any given point in time because of life circumstances. For example, illness, humiliation, harassment, natural disasters, poverty and abuse; however, some of us are more vulnerable than others. In my case, I was susceptible to physical abuse and neglect which has made me a strong person. My life experiences has not crippled me, but has inspired my concentration in public welfare so I can serve others. My past vulnerabilities will help me because they provide me with a better empathy of what children and families are going through in disadvantage situations. I thank God for my fears. One of my biggest fears in life was to end up like my parents. My fear has led me to never have an interested in drinking or using drugs. I never had any problems in a work setting nor have I had any criminal activities. I never seek any professional help for any personal problems that I have had in the past, however, there was a group that I was involved in call ILP that stands for Independent Living Program. This organization is amazing. This is where I met my Independent Living Coordinator who has been such an influential role model. The Independent Living Program is where I got my voice. In this program, I learned how to be more confident as well as how to share my life story with other youth that were in similar situations as me. I think this program help me cope with the personal issues that I was experiencing at that time.
5. Describe your special work practice as you anticipate it five years from now.
Five years from now I see myself helping abused and neglected children who are in need of a positive social worker. This is with out a doubt the right vocation for me. I am passionate about working with this selected group, because of my own personal experience as an abused and neglected child. I have a special place in my heart for children especial those who are suffering because of their parents’ inability to protect and provide for them. I often wished I had a magic wand to protect the kids who are being abused, but realist I do not. However, what I can do is take the necessary steps to become an accomplished social worker, which will enable me to help protect children from all forms of child abuse. In the years ahead, I also see myself volunteering to help educate foster parents on how to be equipped foster parents. To often there are foster kids placed with families who are not properly trained. In order for me to succeed in my endeavors towards protecting children, I realize that a master’s degree in the field of social work is essential. After attending your information sessions, I had the opportunity to better understand how Spalding University can help me reach my academic and personal goals. I became more aware of the importance of social work principles. I was able to learn more about your Master’s in Social Work program. I was so impressed with Spalding’s devotion and history to their Social Work program. I am very excited about learning the fundamentals which will help me sharpen my skills as I pursue my dream of becoming a professional social worker as well as sharing my knowledge. I look forward to using the knowledge and skills that I will develop at Spalding University to help abused and neglected children reach their greatest potentials. I promise to uphold and exceed all that is expected of a student at Spalding University, as well as a professional social worker.