Focus on the Positive in 2023

By Laetitia Clayton

Laetitia Clayton

It’s hard to believe it is already time to welcome a new year — and that we also are near the end of year three of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the heartbreaks and challenges each of us have faced since March 2020, there are some positives that came from the pandemic. One of the main bright spots, from my perspective, is that even though we witnessed some of humanity’s darker sides, we also saw resilience, creativity and determination.

Social workers are among those who rose to meet the various challenges head-on, proving that social work is necessary to help society overcome hardships and find ways to move forward. Although the profession may not have been as visible as some others were, there are many instances where social workers were recognized for their hard work.

In this issue’s cover story, oncology social worker Jeffery Jin, DSW, remembers such a moment. “One morning as I left the train station to walk to our clinic, I saw an older gentleman sweeping the street. Seeing me in a lab coat, he put his broom down and applauded me. Honestly, I get teary-eyed just thinking about this. I never felt professional appreciation like this, and it reminded me just how valuable working in health care is,” Jin says. You can read about the high points and ongoing challenges of social workers and their clients as we approach the end of the pandemic’s third year.

In our second feature article, we look at social work’s anti-recidivism efforts and how social workers help manage the transition period from prison back into society. The goal is to keep someone from reoffending and being reincarcerated. “I believe that people can change despite what their history has been. We’re giving people hope,” says Monique Bingham, MSW, a mental health therapist at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles. 

In Association News, we tell you about the latest updates regarding license portability efforts and how an interstate licensing compact for social work is moving forward. We also look at some of NASW’s recent practice resources and activities, with topics including smoking prevention, environmental health, and older adults’ mental health.

NASW welcomed a new group of individuals into the NASW Social Work Pioneers® program with an in-person induction ceremony in October. In Chapter news, you can read about how Mississippi Chapter staff and members helped deliver clean water to residents during Jackson’s water crisis, and how the Texas Chapter is working to ensure social workers stay safe while adhering to the profession’s Code of Ethics amid some of the state’s challenging new laws.

Make sure to read the farewell column from our CEO, Angelo McClain, as he prepares for retirement. All of this and more can be found in this last Social Work Advocates issue of 2022.

We are looking forward to a bright year ahead and hope there is much more positive news to report.

Until next issue,

cover of December 2022 / January 2023 issue

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