How Is Social Work Month Honored at Wheelock?


A Brief History of Social Work Month

March was named the official National Professional Social Work Month by the White House in 1984. Between the years of 1984 and 1998, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) annually chose a social work issue to publicize, such as health care crises, hate crimes, and violence prevention. From the years between 1998 and 2004, themes for Social Work Month supported and highlighted social work with movements regarding who social workers are and how they help populations and communities.

"It’s critical that social workers continue to be celebrated" - Social Work Month at Wheelock College

Social Work Month at Wheelock

At Wheelock, Social Work Month is highlighted yearly, particularly through two events in honor of Social Work Month. On Wednesday, March 16 there will be a Field Instructor Appreciation Award Ceremony and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Worcester Field Coordinator, Susan Yi-Millette, will be the keynote speaker, discussing whiteness and racial inequity and injustice.  This event is co-sponsored by the Central Mass. Regional Council, NASW MA Chapter.  On Friday, March 18 on the Brookline campus a Field Instructor Appreciation Brunch and a Field Instructor Award Ceremony will take place.  Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership and Policy, social worker Irwin Nesoff, will be the keynote speaker.  His presentation will focus on nurturing the next generation of nonprofit and social work leaders.  Social Work Month is highlighted in the Department of Social Work’s March newsletter issue, bulletin board display outside of the department suite, and a display of artifacts and information in the College’s library.

The theme established by NASW for this year’s Social Work Month is “Social Work: Forging Solutions out of Challenges,” and particularly honors the work done by Social Work Innovator Frances Perkins. Perkins was a witness of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, but the event encouraged her to use her skills as a social worker to prevent future, similar events and improve working environments for American workers. Her work greatly influenced a minimum wage, Social Security benefits, and safe workplaces that we have today.

Celebrating Social Workers

It’s critical that social workers continue to be celebrated, for social workers are not only the leading group of mental health care providers in the United States, but are tested with demanding challenges that society faces. Social workers make families and children their priority and create solutions to mental health and health care, poverty, and discrimination. Moreover, they develop positive connections with every part of our society, including families, schools, non-profits, universities, and hospitals— to name a few.

While there are continuing challenges each month that social workers are dedicated to overcoming, Social Work Month is a special month that is about educating the public about who social workers are and how their profession serves individuals in society. Social Work Month is also a time to enlighten the public about social workers’ values as professionals as well as the types of issues that social workers are enthusiastic about changing.

WATCH: Social Work at Wheelock College

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Lindsay Perrelli graduated from Ithaca College in 2015 and is earning her MS in Elementary and Special Education at Wheelock. She’s passionate about inspiring children to believe in themselves and reach their fullest potentials, and hopes to teach the second grade after her program is completed next spring.