Running head: COMMUNITY IMMERSION SOUTHEAST MEMPHIS
Community Immersion Southeast Memphis
USC School of Social Work
Community Immersion Southeast Memphis
It has always been my dream to have a substantial positive impact on the world that I live in. Since as far back as I can remember the desire to help others has dominated not only my thought process, but also my actions. I believe that this desire is what has led me to pursue the social work field. The job of a social worker is complicated and very wide-reaching, but I believe the ultimate job description of a successful social worker can be summed up with one word; help. The ultimate goal of the social worker is to positively affect the lives of their individual clients and ultimately the society in which they live. I have learned that social workers operate at three levels which ultimately allows them to successfully promote the change that they desire. These levels are: Micro social work, which involves working with individuals; mezzo social work, which involves working with families or other small groups; and macro social work which involves working with agencies. (Gillies, Ester.). When I first began this course, I was only cognizant of social work at the micro level. Through the readings and videos that I have had the opportunity to review, I am now aware that it is impossible to be an effective social worker without incorporating all three facets of the social work profession. My initial vision of being in an office working independently with a singular client has been forever changed. I am now aware of the immense responsibility social workers have to not only affect the individuals and families that walk through their doors, but also the impact they must have on the community and society that these individuals and families interact with daily, in order to accomplish real change. According to the National Association of Social Workers, “social workers have skills in cultural awareness and cultural competence, in which social work practice respectfully responds to, and affirms, the worth and dignity of people of all cultures, languages, classes, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, religions, sexual orientation, and other diverse features found in individuals. Social workers look at the person-in-environment, including all of the other factors that influence the total health of the individual.” (Craig & Elizabeth 2005). Social workers must practice at the mezzo, macro and micro level in order to be effective. In order for social workers to effectively operate within a given community, they must first understand the community on an intimate level. Without knowledge of the surrounding community a social worker will not be aware of the factors that contribute to specific issues that persist with the clients and families that they serve and also will not be able to affect long lasting substantial change within their clients who ultimately have to live and operate daily in these communities. A good example would be helping an individual that struggles with alcoholism. Through therapy and extensive self-reflection and specific treatment strategies the individual can make substantial progress while in your office. However, if this same individual must leave your office and return to work in a bar or some other environment that makes it difficult to maintain the level of progress reached in the therapy sessions, then the success that is experienced in those therapy sessions is short-lived. A social worker must also be aware of the services that are available to their clients as well as other factors affecting those services such as: distance (proximity)/transportation, cost, location/safety, hours of operation/work schedule, availability and other factors that would affect an individuals’ ability to acquire needed services. Lastly, before a social worker can begin to assist a client in working on issues that may...
References: City-Data. (2011) Retrieved from: http://www.city-data.com/zips/38141.html
City of Memphis (2014)Retrieved from: http://www.cityofmemphis.org/
Craig de Silva, Elvira., Clark, Elizabeth J., National Association of Social Workers (2005) NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Health Care Settings
Gillies, Ester. 1.2 Spectrum of Social Work Practice Unit 1 (video): Introduction to Macro Practice: Values and Significance, Part I
Lt. Robinson of Engine Station 55 (Personal communication, May 25, 2014).
Netting, F. E., Kettner, P., McMurty, S. L., & Thomas, M. L. (2012). Social work macro practice. Chapter 1 p.6-9 (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson
Point to Homes (2014) Retrieved from: http://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/TN/Memphis/Hickory-Hill-Demographics.html
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