CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - March is National Social Work month and Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) is having events to show the importance of the profession.
It is estimated that about 680,000 social workers are on the force - in hospitals, schools, and mental facilities trying to improve the lives of many. This is the first time JCSU has celebrated Social Work month, but educators say it won’t be the last.
"We want to make sure that folk know that social work is vibrant," JCSU Social Work Dean Dr. Helen Caldwell said. "It has purpose. It is a moving discipline that is making a difference in our society."
Students who are majoring in social work say they want to make a difference. JCSU is now offering a Master’s Degree in Social Work to show the importance. It is estimated that in the next seven years, about 110,000 social workers will enter the profession.
“I like to be an advocate for people,” JCSU student Brianna Johnson said. “I love to help others. I have a very big heart and I feel like if I have the resources to help somebody, I am going to do it.”
During Social Work month, pay will be emphasized. An average Social Worker salary still lags behind a teacher, nurse and police officer. JCSU students majoring in social work say they are not doing it for the money or recognition.
"You will not be acknowledged for all of the good you do," JCSU Student Octavia Ramsey said. "But that doesn't change why you're doing it and if does - you probably should not be a social worker."
Educators believe social workers are needed. They believe the way society is and the headlines prove people are in need of help and direction.
"We can tell by the crime that exists in our society," Dean Caldwell said. "The mental illness that's occurring in people who look very normal with the family decaying and even in our large institution - there is a decline in standards and values and in human dignity."
JCSU kicks off its Social Worker events Tuesday night, March 26th with a meet and greet at Freshwaters Fine Southern & New Orleans Cuisine. That takes place from 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Wednesday March 27th there will be a Town Hall Meeting Panel with the theme “What Can Social Workers Do To Help Save Our Democracy”. The panel will take place 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. at JCSU New Science Building.
Things will wrap up with a Social Work Lecture Series with Former Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns. The series will take place on March 28th at 6:00 p.m. at Biddle Auditorium.