By Dr Jessica Johannisen

I am a social worker.

I hold your hand on your first day of school.  I walk with you to your new classroom and encourage you along the way.  I make sure your tie is straight and wipe away your tears as you start at yet another school.  I wave goodbye and pray that you will be okay.   

I am a social worker.

I hold you close after your family did not come to visit once again.  I see your disappointment and sadness.  You feel rejected and unloved.  I provide you with comfort, support and love and hope that it will be enough for you.  

I am a social worker.

I clap loudly as you walk along the stage to receive a prize at your school prize giving.  I see your smile and know that you wish your mother were here to see you.  My heart bursts with pride since I know how far you have come.  I know it has not been easy for you – but you persevered and your hard work has paid off.      

I am a social worker.

I am the one to tell you that your mother passed away.  I answer your questions about her illness and explain death, grief and heaven to you.  I attend your mother’s funeral and support you in your pain.  I see your tears running down your cheeks, the longing in your eyes and your anger in your clenched fists.  I understand that her death is complicated.  

I am a social worker.  

I listen as you tell me about your past – the trauma and your anguish.  You share your experiences of the domestic violence you have witnessed, your mother’s alcohol abuse, and the nights you went to bed hungry.  You trust me with this information and become emotional as you relive these experiences. 

I am a social worker.   

I lie awake at night thinking about you.  I think about your heartache, anger and disappointments and try to figure out how I can help.  Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed and cannot help but cry.

I am a social worker. This is who I am, and this is what I do. 

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