March is social work month

The District 7 Regional Agency on Aging (AAA7) joins the National Association of Social Workers in celebrating this year’s Social Work Month in March with the theme, “Now is the time for social work.” This celebration highlights how social workers have enriched our society for more than a century and how much their services are still needed today.

The annual Social Work Month campaign is an opportunity to educate the public, policy makers and legislators about the services social workers provide in a range of sectors including hospitals, mental health centers, schools , social service agencies, community centers and in politics.

People become social workers because they have a strong desire to help others and to make our society a better place for everyone. As a master’s level social worker, I echo our profession’s and our agency’s passion for helping others and helping members of our community in need of long-term care and support services.

Most social workers serve individuals and families, providing resources and counseling that support social functioning. Through AAA7, social workers cover a wide range of services to people in the agency’s 10-county Central District, which includes Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton . In addition, AAA7 serves seven expanded counties with programs for people under 60 and people living with certain behavioral and other health issues. These additional counties include Athens, Clermont, Fayette, Hamilton, Hocking, Meigs and Pickaway.

Social workers with the AAA7 wear many different hats and take on a variety of roles, including advocate, evaluator, case manager, consultant, information sharer, and referrer. Social workers perform these functions for the many programs available through the agency that provide individuals with assistance to support independent living in their own homes through long-term care homes and community services. Social workers recommend and refer these individuals to services such as personal care/housekeeping, adult day care, assisted living, home repairs, transportation, meals delivered to homes and advocating for clients to remain safe and independent in their home or community. Those who call the agency’s toll-free number at 1-800-582-7277 can speak directly with a resource center specialist who will help them with information and resources regarding available programs and services to best meet their needs. . Agency social workers help with this process by serving as a facilitator to help the community with information about these services, determining what is best for them, and what resources are available in their community to help them.

The social work profession continues to meet so many unmet needs in our society today. They are integral to providing services and supports to all ages, people of all backgrounds and abilities. Often the silent, unsung heroes and heroines in the background who do good things for others, they pursue their work motivated by their desire to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

We applaud and salute our social workers across our agency during National Social Work Month in March. Through their hard work and dedication, they ensure that individuals and their families have the resources that enable them to live safely in their homes and communities. Let’s take advantage of the month of March to recognize these people who work daily out of passion to serve others.

Nina R. Keller is executive director of the Regional Agency on Aging for District 7, which includes Highland County.

Nina Keller Guest Columnist

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