Dear Community Social Worker,
You are everywhere - and yet never in the spotlight. You are incessantly working to help those of us with our needs, oftentimes neglecting your own. You find our downtrodden, our homeless, our hungry, and our dying. You bring them where they can get much needed help, and when you’re able, you bring help to them. You tell us that the best way to help others is with our commonly shared human kindness. You never tire of telling us this. In fact, you have stationed yourselves inside our schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, our prisons, our military, our senior centers, and in public agencies to connect us with others that need human help.
You are few and we are so many.
There are some of us for whom ordered thoughts are luxuries. Sometimes our past is confused with our present. Our brains lie to us, and even though we know how to live our lives, our own minds mislead us with missing or imperfect information and we need help. Help that is really hard to find. But while we’re out there, groping around for something, any clues that can get us organized again, we find an outstretched hand. Your hand. And you give us that so desperately needed nudge in the right direction, and we have a chance to get unstuck. You help us overcome our mental illnesses.
Sometimes, we are stricken with debilitating illnesses. There’s no hope, you see, of ever getting better, because there just aren’t cures for everything. That’s ok, that’s a part of life. But we need a little help with that sometimes. We manage the best we can, but medical insurance and hospital systems are too much for us to handle so we can't get the care we need just to keep on living. And you are there, showing us. Showing us where to look, how to navigate. Helping us through the door as medical social workers.
We are parents struggling and dying from addiction. We love our children, really we do, and always want the best for them, but we just…we can’t get well. Not soon enough to help our kids grow and live. Yes, we have created innocent casualties of addiction, ones that have never deserved anything we’ve delivered to them. You step into our environments, most of the time when it’s unsafe for you, and have helped our children when we can’t or won’t. You help us to minimize the damage we cause when we are slaves to drugs and alcohol.
We are forever in your debt, dear Social Worker. You are the quiet professional. The one who helps when no one else can, and you take no credit because there simply isn’t enough time for that. You care for those of us who are in need, you answer your phone at 4am, you go to the homes where kids need you the most, and then you come back to fill out a mountain of paperwork after everyone is safe. We thank you.
From the bottom of our hearts and with all that we have to offer - Thank You.