Photo right, from left: Finley Drewery and Cashla Massey, students from North Carolina’s Livingstone College’s Social Work Forensic Interviewing Class, visit with North Carolina State Rep. Elmer Floyd of the 43rd District during Social Work Month last year. Eighty students from the small, rural college attended the Lobby Day event hosted by the NASW North Carolina Chapter.
Social worker Deona Hooper has special plans for this month, also known as National Professional Social Work Month, where this year’s theme is All People Matter.
Hooper, who is the founder and editor-in-chief of www.socialworkhelper.com, is planning to promote the profession through various social media initiatives, including live Twitter chats and trending the #socialwork hashtag during the month.
“I think Social Work Month provides a unique opportunity for the profession to increase its collective presence on the world stage, which basically equates to Google and social media,” Hooper said.
Social workers have a responsibility to take an active role in promoting the important work they do, she said.
“I believe we must find ways to connect with the public in order to show them the valuable services social workers provide throughout one’s life cycle,” Hooper said. “There is no doubt that social workers are content creators and developers in both the academic world and within the profession. However, I feel that we need to be more deliberate in engaging the public at large by using the editorial arena to provide analysis, information and resources for mass consumption.”
To help social workers and their fans spread the message about Social Work Month and World Social Work Day, taking place March 18, NASW is supplying resources at SocialWorkMonth.org.
Campaign tools include public education materials and artwork that illuminate ways in which Americans benefit from social safety net programs.
Other Social Work Month initiatives include:
- NASW is expanding its expert referral program to 1,000 contacts. A new interactive tool will allow journalists and others to quickly locate knowledgeable social work sources.
- For the third year, NASW and the NASW Foundation will broadcast Social Work Month promotional ads on National Public Radio in all markets. The spots are scheduled to air during “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” March 3-14.
- The third-annual NASW Media Awards recognize professionals and projects across 10 categories that have placed a spotlight on social work-related topics through blogs, documentaries, news articles and television programs. Online voting closes March 15. Winners will be announced at the end of March.
- In partnership with the Journalism Center for Children and Families at the University of Maryland School of Journalism, NASW and the NASW Foundation will begin creating an interactive “lifeline” of 12 news stories about social workers. Print, broadcast and online journalists will compete for the opportunity to produce multimedia interviews with social workers who serve people and families across the life span. The project will kick off during Social Work Month and be completed in the fall.
NASW members are encouraged to check with their chapters for Social Work Month activities and events as well.
Some NASW chapter activities this month include:
- Arizona — The chapter’s Branch 1 will host a Social Work Month Celebration and Awards Breakfast March 7, while Branch 2’s Social Work Month Awards Luncheon takes place March 28.
- California — Assemblywoman Marikio Yamada, MSW, and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D., will present the California Chapter with a resolution commemorating Social Work Month and NASW-Calif. on the floor of the State Assembly on March 10. On March 18, the chapter and Yamada will host a reception in the State Capitol for NASW members.
- Connecticut — The chapter’s Latino/a Social Workers Network will be honoring Latino/Latina social workers who practice in the field of child welfare.
- Massachusetts — The chapter will hang a 25-by-28 Social Work Month banner from the State House balcony from March 24 to 28. It is the same spot where the celebration banners for the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox have hung.
- Missouri — the chapter will hold its 2014 Show-Me Annual Symposium: “Round Up the Basics in Social Work,” March 14-16. The chapter will also honor its Social Worker of the Year, BSW and MSW Students of the Year, Public Citizen of the Year, Legislator of the Year, and Agency of the Year.
- Pennsylvania — Several division events are planned. Some of them include the Brandywine Division, which is hosting its second-annual Legislative Breakfast Meet and Greet and presentation; The Central Division is offering a Stress and Coping Strategies presentation; and The Eastern Division is hosting a Social Work Month celebration, co-sponsored by the Marywood Lehigh Valley MSW Program.
- Utah — The chapter is hosting the Tom Mulder Memorial Lunch and Lecture on March 13 and a Licensing Prep Course on March 22.
- Wisconsin — The chapter’s South Central Branch is sponsoring its annual March is Social Work Month event with the School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin, Madison. It will include a course about sex trafficking followed by a reception with a keynote speaker and annual awards ceremony.
The chapter’s Southeast Branch is sponsoring a program that examines historical trauma experienced by African-Americans, Latinos and refugees.