Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School!

Today was the first day of the school year. I’ve been a social worker for Partnership with Children for several years, and still I feel excited and anxious the first day of school. I woke up before my alarm rang at 6.30, got ready fast and hopped on the train uptown, and made it into school before the rest of my staff.
What most filled me with anticipation though was wondering about the children I will work with this year. It seems insurmountable at times the hurdles children in the inner-city have to overcome just to survive. Name an issue, they’ve faced it. Violence at home, on the streets, homelessness, drug abuse, practically from day one in their lives. Pressures and trauma come at them from all sides. One thing I do know is that children have this incredible ability to rebound. I love being a social worker - despite the pressures and stress of the job – because I know that kids can overcome almost any challenge.
A kid who was on the verge of getting suspended for getting into fights, skipping school and not doing his school work, suddenly finds out after working in our leadership group, that he likes being a team leader. He starts showing up for school every day, doing his homework, and using the positive leadership skills we’ve taught him to not only avoid getting into fights himself, but also to resolve other kids’ conflicts. That’s one kid I’ve kept in school and away from gangs and violence. That’s what keeps me committed to social work. I wake up and I know I’m going to change lives. To me, that’s the real bonus.

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