Social work has been around in some form or another for centuries. One of the more beautiful parts of humanity has been our desire to help those in need. Established with the aspirations to deal with the problems of poverty and inequality, social work is often linked with charity but is much more inclusive than that.
History of Social Work
Social work as we know it today developed mainly in parallel to the Industrial Revolution. With the rise of industrialization and urbanization, a need for a more formal social welfare system developed. This new system addressed the paradox of increasing poverty in an increasingly productive and prosperous economy. Taking a more scientific approach to the “social question” led to the social work profession during the late 19th century.
Around this time, Jane Addams began her work in Chicago. Addams, sometimes referred to as the Mother of Social Work, was best known for establishing settlement houses for immigrants in the early 1900s. She is one of the first women to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Her work established the American social work profession. Ensuring immigrants and other vulnerable people gained tools and skills to escape economic and social poverty. Addams was a dedicated community organizer and peace activist.
Value of Social Workers
Social workers, like other healthcare professionals, are heroes. It takes incredible strength to be there for people through some of the most trying times of their lives. Members of these professions must be prepared to listen with empathy and understanding. These heroes are trained to help individuals and families through various types of challenges. It takes a special kind of person to work through hardships with people to find aid and give hope to those in need.
Relationships with patients are important for trust and valuable communication. For social workers, developing human relationships is paramount for change advocacy and equity. Social workers are trained to nurture understanding and connection. This takes skill, patience and excellent communication.
In addition to advocating relationships and human interaction, social workers champion social justice. By offering support and resources for vulnerable individuals and oppressed groups, social workers can be the catalyst for change.
Like many healthcare professionals, social workers are rooted in service of others. Social workers elevate public service above self-interest and personal gain. Using their skills and knowledge, they help people through serious social problems, such as child abuse, drug dependency, residential instability and mental illness.
Importance of Social Work Today
Today, social work is known for its critical and holistic approach to understanding and intervening in social problems. This approach has illuminated society to see systemic issues and helped pave the way to understanding and positive change.
Social Work Month
Each March, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrates social workers and what they do for clients. According to NASW it “is an opportunity for social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society.” This year, NASW is celebrating its 65th anniversary.
NASW Generations Strong
After many years of contributing to society, it’s nice to step back and see it as a whole. So, this year’s theme is Social Workers: Generations Strong. The NASW will help bring awareness to the amazing and life-changing efforts of social workers. Take part in Social Work Month and show your support by sharing stories and observations of its impact with your friends, family, and on social media.