National Social Work Month, observed throughout March, uplifts the social workers of our country and celebrates their constant contributions to our society. These professionals use psychology and sociology to solve social issues and improve individual lives – and it’s no easy feat! Social work can be emotionally draining, require long hours, and pay entirely too little, yet still, these superhumans strive every day to improve many people’s quality of life and advocate on their behalf. Take some time out this month to recognize social workers and the great things they do.
History of National Social Work Month
Though social work has not always been a formal profession, some practice of it has long been in place in the form of charity work. However, the profession is quite scientific and recent, originating in 19th century England and spurred to existence by the Industrial Revolution. It is based on casework, social administration/poverty relief, and social action. Overall, it’s an exciting interdisciplinary profession that requires a background in psychology and sociology.
Originally, National Professional Social Work Month was introduced by the National Association of Social Workers in 1963 – over 50 years ago. They aimed targeted ad campaigns on television at the public to encourage public support and to generate interest in the profession of social work. It was hugely successful in its beginning, earning over 35,000 letters of support.
In 1984, the United States Government formally recognized National Social Work Month in March. It was introduced by Democratic Senators and was co-sponsored by a Republican. Ronald Regan then signed it into law, and the rest is history.
Something that makes National Social Work month extra fun is the yearly themes. Each year’s theme is based on a social issue that NASW wants to bring to light. Some of the biggest past themes include HIV/AIDS, children in poverty, racial and ethnic harmony, and aging parents. The very first NSWM was themed “Listen To The Children.” These campaigns make every National Social Work Month more educational.
A single social worker can influence an entire life and generations of them have shaped all of us. The legacy of social work includes so many wonderful aspects of the society we live in, which, if you ask us, definitely deserves a celebration.