An Interview with a Social WorkerMarch 14th, 2017 - Brett Diaz
March is Social Work Appreciation Month. As a social service agency that depends on the skilled dedication of our social workers, Goodman JFS would like to highlight one of our most caring professionals.
A social worker is an individual who is educated and trained to help people who are mentally, socially, physically and economically disadvantaged. A clinical social worker has additional education and training, and is licensed to provide individual and group counseling services to treat mental, behavioral and emotional health issues.
Goodman Jewish Family Services is proud to have both types of social workers on staff to provide assistance for our clients. One of our social workers is the Domestic Abuse Program Manager, Lucia, who is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Lucia received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Barry University. Below is a Q&A with Lucia to help you better understand her role as a Goodman JFS social worker.
Q: How long have you been a social worker?
A: I began my social work career in 2007 as a student intern. Over the years, I have worked with many individuals who suffer with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. I also worked with families who have experienced abuse and neglect. It was during that time that I became more informed regarding domestic abuse. In working with domestic abuse survivors, there is a concern for safety that one must always bear in mind. This is in addition to all the other difficulties a survivor might encounter, including financial hardship and a lack of emotional supports such as family, friends and community.
Q: What inspired you to become a social worker?
A: I became a social worker because of the positive influence of mental health professionals in the lives of my friends and family. I could see the difference these professionals made in their lives. It is incredible to see how therapy can even change someone’s physical appearance, because as they begin to feel better, their posture, demeanor and even their style improves!
Q: Could you tell us about the satisfaction you receive from working out in the community?
A: I really love partnering with other agencies and individuals in the community. I love being presented with a need from my client, and finding a way to reach out and locate a partner within the community. It is awesome to be able to find creative solutions to concrete problems. We make referrals to the Rak Pak, Urban League of Broward County, Nova Southeastern University, Family Success Center, Henderson Behavioral Health, etc. just to name a few!
Q: If someone doesn’t know what a social worker is, how would you describe it in a nutshell?
A: A social worker is a mental health professional who is trained to help individuals find solutions to their physical and emotional health needs. Social workers are oftentimes versed in mental and physical health, as well as the social impacts of their special population. For example, a social worker working with domestic abuse survivors must be sensitive a client’s abuse triggers, address physical health needs such as treating injuries, and social needs because their abuse most likely isolated them from their family and friends.
Q: Could you share a success story?
A: I am proud to say that we have small victories every day! This week we were able to work with the Rak Pak to obtain work clothes for a client who started a new job! She looked amazing in her new clothes! Several of our clients are also working toward obtaining professional certificates so they can achieve financial independence from their abusive partners! It’s really exciting to know these women are improving their lives through education. One of our clients recently moved into a beautiful low-income housing unit which has helped to alleviate a large financial burden.