March devoted to social work

Kayla Trail

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas and Mayor Michael Inman announced that March would be dedicated to social workers in a new proclamation signing held at City Hall on March 19.  

 On Western’s webpage, social work is defined as something that “provides a high quality educational experience, which serves a diverse population, contributes to the enhancement of social service delivery systems and improves the quality of life for some of our nation’s most vulnerable at-risk populations.” 

 “There is such a vast and broad array of services that social workers engage themselves in,” Inman said. “My own personal interaction with social workers when I was a career law enforcement officer gave me a much better appreciation and understanding of the true value and dynamics that social workers play in our health and well being of our society and ofour culture.”

 Inman also said it was easy for him to make this proclamation. 

 “Having interacted with social workers in my professional life first of all, I can understand where society and our culture does not appreciate the value that social workers bring to so many folks in our society,” he said. “This is one good way of underscoring that, when the folks from the university brought this to my attention, they wanted to raise that awareness level.” 

 According to the Department of Health Sciences and Social Work, there are 226 students enrolled in the program.“I think that it is a great idea because social workers are often overlooked and underpaid of their services,” said Cambria Boxley, a social work major.

 Being a social worker is not an easy job, according to Boxley, but it can be very rewarding, especially when helping families who are impoverished or who are suffering from disease.

 “I do believe that the social work field should be more acknowledged, not only for their good deeds, but for the betterment of people that are living in poverty, suffering from illnesses and for the youth family development,” Boxley said.

 In regards to Boxley’s comments, Inman wants to change how the community views social workers.

 “If I can help bring that additional awareness to the good work that they do, and like this one student who is concerned for someone who is majoring in it that they will be undervalued in their career, I would like to change that dynamic the best that I can in my position as the mayor,” Inman said. “This was an opportunity to do that.

 “By doing this, we will get that message out and in essence change that paradigm as it relates to the public perceptions of social workers and the value and the good things that they do in this society.”