Sunday, October 10, 2010

44-Working Class Hero

I find inspiration everywhere. Whether I find it in people, photographs, places, simple things, whatever, I try to let life inspiration in any and every way. With that said, let me introduce my first guest blogger: Stacy. She has been such an inspiration to me in so many ways (probably far more than she will ever know), and because of that, I asked her to write a guest entry for my blog.
She's a 28 year-old Social Worker who is following her dreams (and her heart) to all of the places that it leads her, which if you know her, oftentimes means a Dave Matthews Band concert. But Social Work is clearly her passion, and I can definitely say that it suits her. She's a woman with a huge heart and a fervor for helping the world, one step at a time.
I could go on and on for days about her, but instead, I'll let her speak for herself:

[photo credit goes to Stacy Anderson]

"You know, I wasn’t always a Social Worker. The heart was there, the thought-process was there, but I didn’t even know what a Social Worker was until a few years ago. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that I’ve always been a writer. Back in the 2nd grade, I wrote a story about a trail of money that lead to a haunted house. It was cleverly titled “The Money Trail,” and the protagonist followed the trail to the haunted house, where she discovered a pile of money. When the police arrived, they awarded her the money for being such a great detective. Not many 8-year-olds out there with $100 in reward money, are there?

My love of writing turned into what I thought would be a career in journalism. I wrote for the newspaper in college and had two journalism internships before graduation. I’ve always loved writing, so it seemed like a logical choice. It didn’t seem to matter that I didn’t really enjoy interviewing strangers about boring subjects like going bald, the juggling club, and a new unisex bathroom on campus (yes, actual article topics in my personal archive).

However, my idealism was short-lived when, after graduation, I *gasp* …couldn’t get a job! Journalism is incredibly difficult to break into and it just wasn’t happening. So I applied for anything I could and got a job as a “Community Educator” for non-profit organization.

Thus began a future of having to explain every job title I’ve ever had. What exactly is a Community Educator? What about my next job, Prevention Specialist? Well, unbeknownst to me, there was a much simpler job title I could have used: Social Worker.

Except being a Social Worker isn’t simple. Even after holding a Master’s Degree in Social Work, I still have to explain what I do (and gladly do so). The stereotype that Social Workers take away children and give buckets of money away is still alive and well, and while some Social Workers do this, many others work in hospitals, schools, private therapy clinics, non-profit organizations, and in local and national government programs.

The best way to describe Social Work is as the “Helping Profession.” Everything Social Worker’s do is rooted in helping those in need.

My newest title is “Coordinator,” and while vague enough to satisfy most inquiries, it still doesn’t accurately describe what I do (for the record, I help people with disabilities find jobs in local school districts).  But I find for most Social Workers, their job title cannot possibly describe what they do, because how do you describe a job where you serve those in society that no one else wants to help? The downtrodden, the disabled, the victimized. The old and the young. Those down on their luck and those born without any luck at all.

We help those who can’t help themselves."

Stacy, aside from being an amazing, heartfelt Social Worker is also a blogger (and one of my favorites, to boot). So please be sure to check out her blog "Every Little Thing".

And I can't forget a massive thank you to the wonderful Stacy for being a guest blogger for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  1. wow, that was fast! thanks for asking me to guest blog and for saying all those nice things :) we may have never met, but i have and will always value our friendship.

    watch for an email in the next couple weeks for a favor on my part :)

  2. hi monica, i found your blog through your reply to my discussion in 20sb. this is wonderful that you are highlighting and sharing the stories of people who inspire you. there are many misconceptions about social workers and what exactly they do and this post so eloquently dispels them.

  3. what a great story. thanks for sharing.

  4. I love the idea of sharing stories about the people who inspire you :)


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