I’ll let you in on what the original plan looked like.  When I was young, I wanted to be a “Video Jockey” on Much Music Television.  Alas, my TV career didn’t pan out and instead I became a Registered Social Worker.  I can say with confidence, I absolutely made the right decision.

Another social work week has come and gone and this year, I wanted to express my gratitude and acknowledgement for all the Registered Social Workers who have contributed to our community during what has arguably been some of the most difficult years worldwide.

Social Work is a regulated profession that falls under the Health Professions Act.  The term Registered Social Worker is protected meaning, in order to be called an RSW, you have to complete your social work education at an accredited post-secondary program, you need to complete a set number of supervised hours, and then you need to apply to join the Alberta College of Social Workers.  On an annual basis, RSWs are required to complete 40 to 50 hours a year of continuing competency education to remain in good standing and maintain their practice permit.

Social Work is a unique profession in that it balances technical skill sets with an underlying foundation of peace and social justice.  We toggle between helping individuals develop capacity and working to change the systems within which people live.  Social Workers practice in a variety of contexts including healthcare, justice, mental health, education, poverty reduction, and child protection.  What unifies them all is their unwavering belief that change is possible and their commitment to build a world that recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of all individuals.

Our profession has been challenged in recent years to look inward and recognize that at times, we have shared a complicated relationship with the people we intended to serve.  Part of being an RSW is demonstrating “self-awareness” and I am optimistic that as a profession, we are becoming increasingly aware of how we need to take responsibility for what we have gotten wrong in the past and how we can  move forward in a truly just and equitable manner.

I never did make it to the airwaves interviewing music celebrities however, what I ended up doing has been so much better.  For nearly two decades I have interviewed individuals and families whose stories of hope and resilience have been truly inspiring.  And although RSWs may not merit the status of a celebrity, in my humble opinion their work is worthy of a standing ovation.

To all the Registered Social Workers out there, thank you for everything you have done to help make our community a safer, more welcoming, and peaceful place.