Nina Keller: Celebrate Social Work Month across the nation in March

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2022

The Area Agency on Aging District 7 is joining the National Association of Social Workers in celebrating this year’s Social Work Month in March with the theme “The Time is Right for Social Work.”

This celebration highlights how social workers have enriched our society for more than a century and how their services continue to be needed today. The annual Social Work Month campaign is a time to inform the public, policymakers and legislators about the services social workers provide in an array 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 make our society a better place to live for all. As a masters-level social worker myself, I echo the passion our profession and our Agency has for helping others and assisting those in our community who are in need of long-term care services and support.

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Most social workers serve individuals and families, providing resources and guidance that support social functioning. Through the AAA7, social workers cover a wide range of services to individuals in the Agency’s 10-county core district which includes Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.

In addition, the AAA7 serves seven expanded counties in programs for those under the age of 60 and those living with certain behavioral and other health conditions. 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, assessor, case manager, consultant, information sharer and referrer. Social workers conduct these functions for the many programs available through the agency that provide individuals with assistance to support independent living in their own home through long-term care home and community-based services.

Social workers recommend and refer these individuals to services like personal care/homemaking, adult day care, assisted living, home repair, transportation, home-delivered meals and client advocacy in order for them to remain safely and independently as possible in their home or community. Those who call the Agency’s toll-free number at 1-800-582-7277 can talk directly with a resource center specialist who will assist them with information and resources surrounding the programs and services that are available to best serve their needs.

Social workers in the agency assist with this process by serving as a facilitator to assist the community with information regarding these services, determining what is best for their situation and what resources are available in their community to help.

The profession of social work continues to address so many of the unmet needs in our society today. They are an integral part of providing services and supports to all ages, individuals in all walks of life, and all abilities. Often the quiet, unsung heroes and heroines in the background making good things happen for others, they go about their work driven by their desire to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

We applaud and salute our social workers throughout our agency during National Social Work Month in March. Through their hard work and dedication, they make sure individuals and their families have the resources that make it possible for them to live safely and securely in their home and community. Let’s take the month of March to recognize these individuals who work daily from a passion to be of service to others.

Nina Keller is the executive director of Area Agency on Aging District 7.