Several March Events Planned

Social Workers Change FuturesTechnology will help promote and expand the message of this year’s National Professional Social Work Month theme, “Social Workers Change Futures.”

The March event is expected to include a social media campaign that will encourage social workers to send short messages via Twitter, blogs and other websites about the positive ways they have influenced someone’s future that day.

National Professional Social Work Month encourages social workers from across the country to join in celebrating and educating their communities about the many ways social workers are positive agents of change.

Gail Woods Waller, director of communications at NASW, said a new media and community outreach toolkit is available to aid chapters and schools of social work in tailoring their own messages and to help promote NASW’s ongoing National Public Education Campaign. The toolkit offers suggestions for disseminating effective messages and accurate information about the social work profession.

Traditional tools such as press releases, op-eds and proclamations will be included, as well as guidance on how to get the word out online and in community settings.

Martha Rothblum, NASW’s creative arts manager, noted that the 2011 National Professional Social Work Month logo conveys options and change. “The dots represent movement toward the future,” she said. “Social workers think outside the box and help others view problems from all sides to overcome adversity.”

Chapters typically use the March theme as an anchor for their annual conferences, and many chapter leaders encourage their local and state representatives to honor the profession with official proclamations.

Jenna Mehnert, executive director of the Pennsylvania NASW Chapter, said there are plans to have social workers and social work students along the East Coast to join together in handing out information to the public.

She said the chapter along with the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice and many of the mid-Atlantic schools of social work are expected to participate.

“The goal is to select a day and have social workers work in shifts during the morning rush hours to hand out fliers with details about what social workers do and the value we add to our communities,” Mehnert said. The plan is to gain media attention by hosting the campaign in several cities and “to spread the message about the vastness of the services we provide and to show how many of us are really out there working in communities providing valuable and much needed services.”

Social work is also celebrated on a global level. The International Federation of Social Work announced that World Social Work Day will be celebrated March 15.