As the daylight begins to slowly stretch a little more each day like a good yawn, I am reminded of what an exciting time we live in. Although chaos abounds in our national administration, Wisconsin is about to enter one of its most exciting times in decades. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Milwaukee in July! This event will not only bring 50,000 visitors and a much needed $200 million economic boost to the southeastern area of our state, but will bring people together in hopes of improvements in the quality of every American’s life. NASW-WI will be an active participant in the process; plans are in the works to hold a social event for delegates and Congress members, and we will work to further promote the important role of social work in everyday life.
Advocacy for our profession and the people we serve crosses all generations. Just as it is vitally important that we stay engaged and share our expertise as we age and pull experience under our belts, we also need youth and young adults to find their ‘spark’ and carry the message of the importance of social work to their own generation and to future generations.
Have you ever talked with someone who does not know about the many environments that intersect with social work? Much of the general public could use information about how social workers impact lives in schools, clinics, hospitals, law enforcement, court systems, assisted living, hospice, not-for-profits, county agencies, community agencies, and all levels of government, just to name a few. I recently supervised a student who completed her social work field placement at a hospital. When I spoke to her supervisor, she explained that she was the only social worker in the entire hospital! There had been five there in the past, but the hospital had decided that nurses could do the work of social workers and replaced four of the positions with nurses. The nurses informed the hospital that they were not trained in social work and case management, and the hospital is now slowly reverting the positions back to social workers.
Aside from informing the public about the work we do, social work students and professionals can engage and stay engaged in a multitude of ways. I encourage you to choose at least three items from the following list and follow them through to completion:
- VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. Primaries will be held on April 7th.
- Bring someone with you to the polls. Scratch that: bring multiple people with you to the polls.
- Volunteer with NASW-WI to help spread the word about voter registration and voter identification laws.
- Volunteer at the DNC https://www.milwaukee2020.com/volunteer 12,000 volunteers are needed!
- Share your expertise at NASW-WI’s Annual Conference in October in the Wisconsin Dells! We are accepting abstracts through March 30th . https://www.naswwi.org/wp-content/images-docs/Call-for-Abstracts-2020-Annual-Conference.pdf.
- Join one of our committees! Most of our committees meet one hour per month via phone. https://www.naswwi.org/members-only/committees/
- If you are a social work student, Stu-dent Ambassadors are needed! You can help inform your campuses and communities about the importance of social work.
- Serve on our board! Meetings are held quarterly on Saturdays in Madison.
NASW’s theme this year is ‘Social Workers: Generations Strong’. All of the above action steps are critical for social workers and students of any generation to be engaged in.
We can be proud of our profession. We live and work by some of the highest ethical standards of any profession. We empower and advocate for the improvement of lives of the people we serve. We are embedded in many of the facets of everyday life. And, above all else, our work is generations strong. Social work will never go out of style. It will never be a passing phase, and it will always be vital to improving quality of life for every human being. The work of every social worker is vital, whether you are eighteen, forty-eight, or eighty-eight years young.
I have immense gratitude for the work you do every day to help make the world a better place.
In service to the social workers of Wisconsin,
Kristi S. Wood, MSW, CAPSW