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Social Workers: Catholic Charities Super-Heroes

March is National Social Work Month; it's a special observation around our agency since several of our staff members are social workers. As one of the few non-social worker employees on staff, I really had no idea what a social worker was prior to working at Catholic Charities. Since then, I have had an opportunity to observe that Anna Scheyett's TEDx Talk description of Social Workers as Super Heroes to be pretty accurate.

For generations, social workers have played an important role in improving the well-being of people and helping our communities become a better place to live. For instance, social workers such as social reformer Jane Addams, former Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, and civil rights leaders Dorothy Height and Whitney Young have helped Americans secure voting rights, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and other programs.

Social work is a fast-growing profession with more than 680,000 social work professionals in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clinical social workers are the largest group of mental health providers in the United States and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the biggest employers of social workers with a master’s degree.

Social workers are trained to look at situations in a holistic way, helping bring together people and communities to find ways to address pressing individual, group and societal issues such as hunger, affordable housing, equal rights for all and making organizations and government accountable.

Social workers also follow the NASW Code of Ethics, which calls on members of the profession to enhance human-well being and meet the basic needs of all people, with particular attention on the needs and empowerment of those who are vulnerable, oppressed or living in poverty.

The services of social workers are needed now more than ever before as the nation grapples with issues such as income equality, addiction, immigration and the continued struggle for equal rights for all. During Social Work Month take some time to learn more about the profession and support the work of social workers---like those at Catholic Charities---in improving the lives of individuals and families in our society. At the end of the day, I can attest that the Social Workers at Catholic Charities care deeply about matters of injustice, and they treat everyone who walks through the door with dignity and compassion.

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