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My personal values and social location have influenced how I am situated within the profession, my views and articulation of social work, and my feelings about becoming a social worker. I am a cisgender, heterosexual, English-speaking, chronically-disabled, African-Canadian woman in my mid-twenties. The personal challenges that I endured while growing up Black and poor in a predominantly white, wealthy neighbourhood and struggling with a biased education system gave me the fuel to encourage and advocate for women, racialized minorities, immigrants, and people with disabilities – all of whom have been marginalized by mainstream culture. From childhood, selflessly helping others (my elderly neighbour, the homeless man, and hungry people around the world by contributing to my school food drives) was something that was not only taught but also expected of me in my Christian household. As I got older, I searched for even bigger ways to contribute to my community and our society at large.
The thought of becoming a social worker appealed to me and stuck in my mind. Since that time, I have volunteered and worked within several diverse ecosystems — in a high school, in a child-care centre, in a hospital, in a university, in a government organization, and in a college. In every case, I have had the opportunity to be of service to others by helping them to discover their inner strength through their difficult and inexplicable life circumstances and by giving an ear to the voices of those who have been silenced by mainstream culture. But aside from my life and work experiences, my educational background in human resources management, bioethics, writing, rhetoric, and social work has also motivated me to become a social worker. My educational background has not only exposed me to various contemporary social problems but also allowed me to gain the knowledge and skills needed to become an agent of social change.
Social work’s core values appeal to my values of respect, social justice, integrity, commitment, and service to others. Thus, my above experiences and values have inspired me to want to make a difference, and I realize that to be the positive change that I want to see in our society and world, I must embrace a career in the field of social work. And, as I fight to break down barriers and drive reform, I aspire to provide evidence-informed service delivery, innovation, leadership, and organizational planning within an advocacy/social justice human services organization.
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