NACOGDOCHES, Texas — A proclamation event was held Wednesday at Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Social Work to kick off Social Work Month, as well as a number of events the school will host to honor the social work profession.
Nacogdoches County Commissioner Robin Dawley delivered the proclamation to the School of Social Work’s faculty members, field instructors, students and others in attendance.
“By participating in the proclamation event, the Nacogdoches County Commissioner’s Court acknowledges the contributions of social workers in the county,” said Dr. Emmerentie Oliphant, professor and director of the Doctorate in Social Work program. “They acknowledge that we empower, help, advocate and push for change in communities.”
Themed “Social Work Breaks Barriers,” March was established as Social Work Month in 1963 by the National Association of Social Workers and officially recognized by the United States government in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan. The month is a chance to inform the public about the services social workers provide in an array of sectors, including hospitals, mental health centers, schools, social service agencies, community centers and politics.
“This year’s theme focuses on breaking barriers — that is exactly what social workers do,” Oliphant said. “We see so many barriers in today’s society, as well as many problems and challenges. As social workers, we come up with solutions and focus on strengths.”
Oliphant added that the profession is dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice, and the month-long acknowledgment is an opportunity to highlight social workers who often work under difficult, dangerous and stressful circumstances. Social Work Month also aids in addressing challenges of people’s quality of life.
The school will host several events throughout the month with many guest speakers who will discuss the importance of social work in today’s world. Events include trainings, outreach programs at local elementary schools and car washes, to name a few.
The school will also observe World Social Work Day March 21 as a reminder of the strong connection social workers have around the world. The theme for this year’s World Social Work Day is “Respecting Diversity Through Joint Social Action.”
The culminating event for the month will be the NASW Deep East Texas branch award banquet.
For more information about the SFA School of Social Work, visit sfasu.edu/socialwork.