Promise House is recognizing is the amazing social workers on it’s staff this year during Social Work Month. The month long awareness week highlights the invaluable contributions social workers make in society, especially as the nation addresses the coronavirus pandemic, and aims to inform the public about how social workers contribute. Each day, social workers meet people where they are and help them live to their fullest potential. Three social workers serve on Promise House’s staff of 115 and play a vital role in the agency’s work.
“We want people to understand that social workers aren’t just the people who remove kids from their homes in situations involving abuse or neglect,” said Regina Levine, chief program officer for Promise House. “We handle case management, provide therapy and counseling, and help connect youth and their families with needed resources. Our work encompasses the entire process of guiding youth and their families on the path to healthy functioning and success.”
Levine shared just a few recent examples of how social workers on the staff at Promise House assisted youth and their families:
Empowered a young woman at Promise House to make her own doctor’s appointments, giving her a sense of independence and confidence.
Assisted a client, a young man who is on the autism spectrum, to help him learn to ride the bus, overcoming sensory issues that made this challenging for him. “He was so proud of being able to ride the bus himself, and he was able to get a job,” said Levine.
Worked with the family of an LGBTQ youth, who was afraid to come out to her family. By counseling the family, the staff member empowered them to accept the youth, and she was able to go back home.
Helped connect young moms in the Promise House program for pregnant youth to important resources, including parenting classes, educational opportunities allowing them to complete their GEDs, and employment resources.
During the coronavirus pandemic social workers have also been on the front lines along with doctors, nurses, grocery store staff, and other essential employees. While many people have been able to work remotely from home, that wasn’t an option for Promise House staff.
“We’ve been here the whole time, and our work has been even more taxing than usual, because our children and youth often don’t understand concepts like social distancing or quarantine,” Levine said. “Plus some of our kids have experienced depression and anxiety during the pandemic; our social workers have helped them work through that.”
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There are currently about 700,000 professional social workers in our nation, but that number is expected to rise to more than 800,000 by 2029, BLS said. Prominent social workers in U.S. history — including social reformer Jane Addams, former Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, and civil rights leaders Dorothy Height, Whitney Young and Ida B. Wells — have helped Americans secure voting rights, equal rights, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and other programs.
“As social workers, we are passionate about what we do,” said Levine. “It’s not just a job for us.”