Each of our amazing board members chose the profession of social work for a reason and we would like to share their stories with you. Stay tuned for a post about each of the social workers who represent YOU on the NASW-NC Board.
Lydia Zaharias-Long MSW, LCSWA, LCASA
Piedmont District Representative (2014-2016)
What drew me to social work was the belief in the possibility of a better world; a better America. My skill as a social worker has been to have the ability to balance my clinical focus with my interest and commitment toward larger socioeconomic issues that affect my clinical practice and my clients and community; I am neither a micro or macro social worker but a balance of the two.
I believe that the profession of social work has the ability to rebuild and restore our country, to help America find its dream again. The profession of social work can help our country far more than being the safety net of society. This profession can move America forward by being able to build up the societal infrastructure of our country. We do this by being on the front lines as legislative and community leaders, community organizers, community developers, by finding solutions in social entrepreneurship, by being therapists, educators, researchers, analysts, and advocates. We need to hire and invest in social workers because the profession of social work can help us rediscover “The American Dream” and how can it be part of our future.
As social workers, we can be a great force for this kind of growth in our society but we cannot do it alone as professionals. Too many social workers are “fighting the good fight” alone in their agencies and private practice. We work on the individual level but we must also be a “united front” as a profession, politically and in our community. We cannot be this force if we do not become more united. However, we can become more united by staying active in our professional organization, the National Association of Social Workers. Being a member is more than paying dues, it requires active participation from our social work community. Too many social workers have forgotten their roots and are too overwhelmed in their private practice or agency to reach out. As a result social work as a profession as become almost invisible. We are not taken seriously by other professions and not really recognized politically either. This is why I joined NASW and have a passion for serving on the board of directors. We, now more than ever, need this unification as a profession and as individuals.
The voice and face of social work needs to be heard. We need to be seen by our government, by our society and by ourselves. Many times there is disconnection between social work values, legislation and in the agencies in which we work. We must unite as a profession and advocate for ourselves and the populations that we serve to our communities and government.