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  • Top Ten To-Do List for Wisconsin Social Workers in 2019

     By Kristi Wood, MSW, APSWKristi Wood

    Yes, I know. You are reading this months after you made your New Year’s resolutions. But considering that the average rate of following through is 20%, it is never too late to make a revised list. I am still working on goals I created for myself a decade ago. Choose a few goals from the following list that speak to you, and write them into your calendar; it has been shown that goals that are visible to you on a regular basis are the most likely to be achieved.

     10) As social workers, it is our duty to advocate for the people we serve. But according to the NASW Code of Ethics, we also have an obligation to advocate for our profession. The most effective way to do this is to be a member of NASW. We have many social work professionals at the state and national level that are, quite effectively, advocating for the social work profession every day. But we are only as strong as our numbers. A student can be a member for less than $5 per month. And non-students can now make installment payments. Reserve the cost of one latte per week, and your membership is paid! This is the easiest way to make a difference.

     9) It is estimated that there are approximately 16,000 Wisconsinites working in social work roles in our state. NASW-WI currently has approximately 1,400 members. If every one of us encouraged a fellow social worker to be a member, our operating budget would double. This would allow us to hold more networking events, offer more continuing education opportunities, and advocate for increases in social worker salaries. Imagine how the power of our profession would increase if every social worker became a member of NASW-WI! Do your part to make it happen.

     8) If you have one hour per month you can spare, consider joining an NASW-WI committee. Our Legislative and Social Policy Committee decides which bills NASW-WI supports or opposes. Our Continuing Education Committee allows for workshops and conferences around the state to offer Continuing Education Hours (CEHs). Check the NASW-WI website for the full list of committees. You can be located anywhere in the state, as our committees meet by phone.

     7) If you have a Saturday to spare every three months, consider running for a position on our Board. We have available opportunities to serve, your expertise and work is appreciated, and you will not regret the experience.

     6) If you have expertise in a particular area of social work, consider being a mentor for a new social worker. See the NASW-WI for details.

     5) VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. Not just in the presidential elections, but in every election, for every office. Vote for those who support the social work profession. NASW-WI does much of the homework for you, and lists the candidates that receive the highest grades for supporting social workers and social justice issues; see the website for details. Bring at least one person to the polls with you.

     4) Educate others. I was recently told by a student that I should not talk about NASW-WI so much because it is left-leaning. NASW-WI advocates for social justice; it is not partisan. NASW-WI has given awards to legislators on both sides of the aisle for their support of the causes of social work. There are NASW-WI members on both sides of the aisle. There is no cookie-cutter social worker; we all have different opinions about certain issues. The reason we are social workers is to empower others to live their lives to the fullest; in order for that to happen we need a society that has resources available for those who need them, and a society that is equitable and just.

     3) Clear your calendar on April 10th. Our Advocacy Day will be an invigorating opportunity for you to hone your advocacy skills! Work with your social work colleagues to learn about the issues currently facing our profession, such as social work safety and the Higher Education Lower Debt bill. Attend pre-scheduled appointments with the legislators from your home district. This popular event is growing; in 2017, there were over 500 attendees! Bring your colleagues for an experience you will be proud to be a part of.

     2) In these turbulent political times, it is particularly vital that we speak up when necessary. NASW sends monthly updates that inform you of legislative activity. With a few clicks you can send emails to your legislators to advocate for passage of bills that will support our profession and the people we serve. Every call and email makes a difference!

    1)  Last but not least, it cannot be stressed enough that we must practice self-care, on a daily basis. We cannot be there for the people we serve if we do not first put on our own oxygen mask. Schedule into your day that walk, yoga class, whatever it is that energizes you. Remember, write it into your calendar, and it is more likely to happen.

    Happy Spring!

    I am immensely grateful for the work you do every day.

    Your President,

    Kristi Wood, MSW, APSW