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Masters, African-American, Disability, CPS

April 11, 2013

I am a disabled African American woman aged 52. I hold a BS degree in Psychology awarded in 1988 by the California State University at XXXX. It has been my ambition to complete the MSW program at XXXX since the 1980’s. My hopes were dashed in 1988, when I had to abandon the program during the first semester when my son became seriously ill. Circumstances have prevented me from rejoining the program since that time. I now fervently hope to be able to return to finally maximize my skills and knowledge to be of greater assistance to those in distress and to fulfill my own professional and personal potential.

I suffered a nearly fatal illness in 2007 and am only now fully recovered. I consider that I have been given a second chance in life and I am determined to make full use of it. I have thirteen years experience within Social Work having worked in a number of settings and roles but have been mainly involved case management. With the skills and knowledge provided by the program, it is my intention to seek a more direct role in assisting clients.

I am fully aware of social work ‘core values’ of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence,  I fully share these values and have always sought to demonstrate, uphold and advance them in my work and I undertake to continue to do so in my future studies and career.

 I was raised in the South Bronx and so was exposed, from my earliest years, to a wide range of social problems and their effects on families and individuals. Such an environment can provoke a determination to escape it and forget it or an adoption of the values of the majority of those around you or an understanding of the pressures and stresses suffered by those who have adopted problematic behaviors and a determination to help them. My mother adopted the last option and worked in Child Protection Services for 30 years until retirement.  I was a child when I decided to try to emulate the ‘love in action’ that she showed.  This was and is my motivation to enter social work. Being brought up amongst those affected by the most serious social problems has given me significant insights into their problems along with the ability to offer myself and my family as examples to those who feel that they are permanently trapped in an undesirable and harmful lifestyle.

 I have interacted happily and productively with co-workers, acquaintances and clients of many different cultures and social backgrounds. I am also widely travelled having visited South Africa, France, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico. I learned a great deal from my travels, especially as I deliberately exposed myself to the way that the very poor live in those societies. These experiences were humbling as well as educative. I saw people attempting to make the best of the most challenging environments in the world for themselves and their families. I also saw how much education is highly valued when it is expensive and relatively inaccessible. These moving experiences were an encouragement to me in my personal life and a further inspiration help people on the margins of my own, much more fortunate, society. ‘People are people’ and I genuinely have no problem in relating well to them no matter what the apparent gap in our life experiences. I am aware that cultural sensitivity and awareness is an important aspect of social work generally but especially in the diverse population in which my future work will probably be undertaken, I hope to learn much more of relationship between culture and social problems in the program.

 My special interest is in doing research into a spiritual component in social work, where such an approach is appropriate and welcomed by the client. I believe that encouraging a development of this aspect of the person can assist in enhancing self respect, acceptance of personal responsibility and an acknowledgement that ultimately the answers to problems lay within the person and that such solutions are accessible with sufficient motivation to find and adopt them. This approach has been very successful in the Alcoholics Anonymous programs. I am interested in a wide range of social problems but am particularly interested in addictive behavior and in the variety of ways that it is caused and exhibited.

 I am genuinely and passionately interested in helping others. My social work experience has taught me that it is important to be realistic but optimistic and to persevere even in the face of clients who might be difficult to help. I am very aware of the fact that people in distress do not always put their thoughts into words and that a sensitive appreciation of the importance of non-verbal signals is an important feature of the work. I am emotionally mature and know how to communicate clearly and with personal authority, when it is necessary to do so. I am fully aware that chaotic thoughts and feelings result from acute distress and the consequent need for a determined and focused attitude on the part of the person assisting in such situations. I am the sort of person who can provide that determination and focus while exhibiting patience and understanding.  I know that situations calling for professional intervention are often highly complex and that the complexities may not be immediately apparent, that careful and sensitive investigation is required to define underlying problems and identify possible solutions. I also know that the key skill is to help the client to help themselves and that those solutions that are perceived to have been imposed, no matter how subtly, can never be truly effective.

 I know that there is a great deal to be done to improve the lot of those on the margins of society and the extent of the problems can result in feelings of helplessness in those charged to change this situation. However I have seen the difference that the right people with the right skills and knowledge can make in individual lives and I know that this difference affects more than merely one life but is cumulative by improving the lives of other within the family and ultimately the lives of generations of family members. This knowledge is a major motivation for my application and inspiration to pursue participation in this program. I want to be the person with the skills and knowledge to start this process within families.

 The on-line program will require self-discipline and motivation if it is to be successfully completed in a timely manner. I can offer an assurance that I am fully committed to making my studies my first priority.  I have the time, the academic ability, the focus and the determination to pursue the program to a successful conclusion and cannot wait to begin.

 I am aware that the program will attract many well qualified applicants because of its prestigious reputation. However, I am convinced that I have the personal qualities required of an excellent and highly effective Social Worker and the motivation and determination to excel within the program.  I also believe that my background and long social work experience are both highly relevant to the Master’s program and I look forward to sharing their ‘fruits’ with my class. Most importantly, I will bring a genuine and passionate desire to help others through social work. I am convinced that the training and knowledge provided by the program will enable me to fulfill my potential to ‘make a difference’ in society and I eagerly look forward to doing so.

 Thank you for considering my application. 

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