Social Work Month filled with activities

By Rena Malai, News staff

Since its first Social Work Month theme in 1966 — “Support Social Work Education in Your State” — promoting Professional Social Work Month in March has been a priority for NASW.

Each year, NASW creates a new theme for the monthlong campaign, with the goal of bringing all social workers together to celebrate and shine a spotlight on the profession.

NASW selected “All People Matter” as the 2014 theme to raise awareness throughout the country about the profession’s 116-year commitment to improving social conditions and quality-of-life opportunities for everyone.

Highlights from this year’s Social Work Month activities in March include a partnership with the Journalism Center on Children and Families at the University of Maryland; the final voting of the annual NASW Media Awards; NASW chapter involvement; and official recognition of Social Work Month on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.

“The success of Social Work Month is driven by the passion and creativity of our chapters, the schools of social work, supportive employers and numerous allies to the profession,” said Gail Woods Waller, deputy director of membership, marketing and communications at NASW.  “The March celebration gives the association and the profession a fresh promotional focus for the whole year.”

Social Work Lifeline

The Journalism Center on Children and Families and NASW have joined forces to create an interactive website, or lifeline, that will look at a day in the life of social workers, according to JCCF Director Julie Drizin.

The lifeline is a tool to deepen journalistic understanding of the field of social work, Drizin said.

“Through a very rich conversation with the NASW communications department and Gail Woods Waller, we talked about partnering on something that would educate journalists about the profession,” she said.

The partnership, which began during this year’s Social Work Month, will be a convergence of a lot of shared interest, Drizin said, adding that one of the best ways to teach people about the field is to engage them in it.

“The Journalism Center for Children and Families is committed to helping reporters deepen and expand (coverage of) complex issues facing kids and families in the U.S.,” she said. “This project will promote the field of social work in the sense that it will give people a real window into the work social workers do, but at the same time it won’t be a glorification or idealized view. Maybe not all of the stories will have a happy ending, but it will be a very real look.”

The interactive website will specifically house stories on ways social workers interact and intervene as they help children and families in need.

“The lifeline will portray a wide range of topics, from social workers who work with pregnant women, infants, toddlers, school-age children; and young adults, families and aging people; and people in the military who come home from war,” Drizin said. “We’ll be visualizing across a lifespan, and stories will either be multimedia, short videos, audio slide shows, animation, or in print.”

Drizin said the center will put out a call for ideas, and people can pitch articles that involve a social worker or social work agency in their community. The center will then evaluate all submissions, and assign chosen ideas to a journalist from its roster.

“The stories have to be very compelling and have journalistic integrity, which is very important,” Drizin said. “Our hope is that thestories on the lifeline, once published, will then get picked up and distributed elsewhere for more visibility.”

The lifeline will be available by mid-fall, and open to the public.

“One of the benefits of partnering with NASW on this, and by having NASW supporting this project, is it will help us gain access to people and situations that might be harder for reporters to get to on their own,” Drizin said. “If there are people out there who have powerful, memorable stories that they think will resonate, they should let the center know.”

For more information, click here.

Questions and story ideas can also be emailed to Drizin at julie@journalismcenter.org

From the May 2014 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story after logging in.

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