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Premium Statement Service by Dr. Robert Edinger

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Dr Robert Edinger with Son David

MSW Social Work, Bicultural Mexican Woman

I was born in Mexico and raised there until the age of 7, when the family moved to the US. My major subject for my Bachelor degree was Child Development with a minor in Spanish. My goal in applying is to acquire the skills and knowledge to enable me to practice as a social worker helping children and especially those from poor Hispanic families to minimize the effects of the challenges that such children face. I am proud to have been the first member of my family to go to college especially as I did so in the face of determined parental opposition.

I was responsible, from the age of 10, for providing the sole care for my younger siblings while my parents worked. I took these duties seriously and performed them well but did not then consider this experience to be the basis for a career choice; that connection came later. Although my B.A. major was in Child Development, most of my working life has been spent in charity and medical administration. I have found this to be a reasonably well rewarded and satisfying career path. However, in the course of my work, I have met many members of the ‘caring professions’, including social workers, and have found myself envying the degree of satisfaction that their work clearly provides to them.  My current work does enable me to offer some help to people who are unclear as to their health insurance status and I find this aspect of my work particularly satisfying and wish to extend it. I am also a volunteer in the Medical Reserve Corps training to assist in the event of disasters and with immunization.

I might never have sought this career change but two years ago my 15 year old sister became pregnant. Fortunately, I had acquired some knowledge about resources available to teenage mothers. My father had just lost a job he had held for 30 years with its family medical benefits but I was able to assist my sister in acquiring WIC benefits and in initiating pre-natal care at the community health clinic where I worked. I was also able to provide my sister with information about various agencies that help teenage mothers. Finally, I successfully encouraged her to continue her education and gave her practical assistance to enable her to do so.

During the process of helping my sister with her emotional, economic, insurance, volunteer support and educational challenges, it began to occur to me that I might have what it takes to help others directly and full time as a social worker and began my research into this area of work. This application is not based on a whim but on two years careful consideration of my suitability for such a vital role and what makes an excellent social worker.

I am aware of the social work ‘core values’ which I wholeheartedly support. I realize that competence is the main requirement of a social worker and is the value upon which the effective exercise of the others depends. I have always been considered to be competent in my professional roles to the extent that I am trusted to supervise a team of five. I realize that effective social work depends upon teamwork, I am considered to be an effective team worker and leader; I understand that a good team is capable of much more than the individuals comprising it. As someone who came from a family that was financially challenged, I know the feelings of children from such families and the pressures that financial difficulties bring to family relationships. I am also aware that it is important to be sensitive to non-verbal signals when communicating with distressed people especially children, I have some experience when working with children and of recognizing and responding to such signals. I would seek to hone this important skill within the program. While competence and communication skills are essential in a social worker, I understand that the main characteristic required, empathy, cannot be taught. My background has given me a genuine empathy for those who face difficulties and challenges in their lives, as I have myself. I will have experienced many of the problems being suffered by poor Hispanic children who will, I hope, be my future clients and this will be of great advantage to me in reaching out to them. I also appreciate that a social worker has to be determined in helping clients. I am a person who has overcome many obstacles to obtain a degree and will apply the same determination in helping my clients to achieve optimum outcomes in their lives.

I know that the ‘caring professions’ can attract people with an unrealistic and ‘starry eyed’ attitude. I realize that the social worker is seeking the optimum outcome available and that this will rarely be what might be considered the perfect one. Attaining the optimum outcome might also require encouraging clients to go beyond what they initially feel that they might be capable of achieving.

I am fully aware that social work requires a very high degree of cultural and social sensitivity. I am constantly required to demonstrate this sensitivity in my current work in a community health clinic. I ensure that I treat everyone with the respect that I should expect to be given. I am bi-lingual in English and Spanish and, having lived in Mexico, have a good understanding of the culture of Hispanic immigrant families. I love Mexico and used to work in the vineyards during my spare time to enable me to travel there each summer.

I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for the program. However I do consider myself to be an excellent candidate. I hold a degree in a discipline that has some direct application to the study of social work; my career to date has involved assisting people from the populations with whom I would mainly deal as a social worker; I have undertaken substantial informal study of the basics of the subject especially as it relates to Hispanic people living in the US; I have met and overcome major difficulties and obstacles in my own life and will have many shared experiences with my future clients.  But my main recommendation is a passionate and deeply held ambition to help children achieve their maximum potential in terms of happiness and academic attainment and especially those from financially challenged, Hispanic families.

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