This was a roller coaster year for me, the climax being leaving my job of 15 years and saying goodbye to work I am deeply passionate about. There were many reasons for my move, (one being told I was not passionate) but I decided at the beginning of the year it was time for me to move to an agency that shared the same values that I did. As the social work code of ethics, in brief, focus on these values (i highlighted the ones I felt lacking and need to be first and foremost in my work):
- social justice
- dignity and worth of the person
- importance of human relationships
But I digress… I left behind work I cherished, was good at and firmly believed in. I left behind amazing co-workers who always supported me and loved me. I had no idea what my new world would bring. Is it possible to have that much goodness in people again?
As it turns out, is is not just possible, it is tremendously amazing. A new group of people, a new agency in my life that I did not even know existed until this fall, and now I don’t know how I would live with out them. And here is why…
“Agency Care”. I was introduced to this idea by a fantastic colleague when I started my job. Social Workers are all about self care, but this is a new step up. It is a daily focus on makings sure everyone around you is cared for. You see, we work in a place where we are surrounded by trauma. Our jobs are centered around sexual abuse and there is nothing more difficult than this topic. We do a lot of prevention and we do a lot of healing, but to live in a world that is centered around that knowledge that sexual abuse happens can be very debilitating.
Except, its not. Because of the care that is put into our team. The purposeful, loving, and genuine focus of taking care of each other. Social Workers often talk about “Self care” and what do you do when you are not at work to care for yourself. But what about the middle of the week, when you have heard multiple disclosures of sexual abuse, or when a child is to afraid to tell because of getting in trouble, or when you are coloring with a child in the lobby after you have just inputed their intake sheet into the computer and know all the bad, sad, scary things that have happened, you need to have break in your day to eat lunch and laugh. Or to sit in someone’s office and eat chocolate and vent. Or to take a few minutes to just talk about regular life.
And to hear the stories of your team members that are all working hard for justice and healing and hope. That are all ready to drop everything to make one moment better for a child.
To know, in this world of abuse, hatred, fear, discrimination, inequality, loneliness, disease, hunger and war that there is a team of 27 people who will always drop everything to take care of each other and who are constantly seeking ways to make each other’s world better, gives me so much hope and fills my heart with love.
Cheers CAC & partners. You make the world a better place
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