Social Work Program Discussion

Identify a Social Justice-Related Problem that Concerns You

I experienced oppression in my home country Cuba. For instance, poor people were made to labor for long under poor conditions in rich people’s farms with little wages that cannot support their families and it affected their health. They were deprived the chance to develop their farms and secure food for their families and for sale. In the USA, oppression currently is in the form of social injustices like accessing employment opportunities, access to essential services like medical, education, and legal justice is still a challenge. With the knowledge I have acquired as a social worker, I have addressed such cases by advocating for people’s rights thus helping them have equal rights in accessing services in public institutions without difficult. I have also empowered people, especially women, to have income-generation activities to support their families and overcome challenges like poverty and raise their children well. I am committed to applying the knowledge and skills acquired and integrating my creativity to come up with ways to address such social justice issues in the society. Therefore, I wish to obtain the opportunity to study this program to acquire more knowledge to support this vulnerable population.

The CSUN MSW Social Work Program Has an Urban Focus and Strives to Train Students to be Competent in Individual, Organizational, Community, and Policy Level (i.e. micro, mezzo and macro) Interventions.

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Discuss Your Compatibility with Our Generalist Program

I grew up in a rural set up whereby I experienced the best and the worst the rural poor people underwent in the society. Poverty and oppression to obtain basic needs are the order of the day. Families were experiencing a lack of proper housing as well as balanced diet and not able to access proper medication. I thought it was a way of life. However, after many encounters in high school, I discovered it should not a way of life, and something has to be done by someone who is me. I was fortunate to get an opportunity to stay and study here in the USA. I have lived in suburban and urban set up thus enriching my experience of the diverse populations in the society. With all these experiences since childhood, I have focused on developing my career to support people despite their background, and family set ups. I have engaged myself in individual, organizational, community, and policy level interventions through working as an individual and as a group to ensure people including children have better lives than before.

Therefore, the opportunity to study this program will enable me to engage fully in different levels of interventions so as to support and empower people facing social life challenges.

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What Professional and/or Personal Experiences Have You Had in Dealing With:

Forms of oppression (such as ageism, homophobia, racism, sexism)?

I have realized that oppression comes in many forms and degrees. Racism is common where there are many races, and one has more power than others in making policies. Gender discrimination, especially in employment, has reduced since the government passed a bill of equal job opportunities to everyone. However, it may be seen in some communities, and it has resulted in wife battering, domestic violence, and rape cases. Under ageism, young children and the elderly are being oppressed and deprived their basic rights. Lack of housing, balanced diet, and proper medication are major forms of oppression. Therefore, addressing this kind of abuse is somehow difficult since parents and other immediate families must be involved in a planned way to accommodate and care for these individuals. Lastly, homosexuals have experienced negative attitudes and reactions from the society thus addressing their challenges gave insightful experience. Nevertheless, there is a need to learn further for effective service delivery. I hope to find out more about how I can support these groups so as to have better lives.

Your own biases?

Overconfidence is a bias that will hinder achievement of goals in this profession. I also consider group decision a bias towards the efficient process of addressing life challenges if not carefully evaluated. However, with much exposure and professional experience, I have learned how to suppress them so that critical thinking helps in arriving at concrete solutions to enhance better outcomes. I hope the program will challenge me more and instill a habit of thinking for effective decision making.

Your own privilege(s)?

My main privilege is that I have experience with different setups: rural and urban. I have also been exposed to many social injustices from oppression thus ability to tackle challenges as a social worker. Working in various institutions and internship program, I have met people with varied cases that have enriched my experience and led to the development of skills. Therefore, I appreciate the opportunities I have obtained since they have formed a firm foundation for my career development. I hope that given the opportunity, the program will further my experience and enrich my career with more challenging yet educative moments for career success.

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What Experiences and Relevant Skills (past and present) Would Contribute to Your Ability to Work Effectively with People from Diverse Populations (i.e., disability status, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, the LGBTQ community, consumers of social/mental health services)?

I have worked with people at various levels since I love helping people and impacting their life positively. For instance, during my internship, I supported people experiencing domestic violence, issues with parenting, addiction, and discrimination. I have also worked with kids whereby I helped them to overcome challenges they faced in their families like alcoholism, domestic violence, poverty, and discrimination. I offered guidance and counseling, inspiration talks, motivation, and physical support to kids. Thus, I am happy that I made a positive impact on their lives. In these activities and programs, I have developed relevant skills as a social worker that can help me handle diverse populations. I have met, worked, and interacted with many people and offered support to the diverse population without discrimination. For instance, empathy has surrounded my job as a social worker. Ability to assess a person through active listening and offering appropriate advice is also another skill I have developed over time. I have developed communication skills, both oral and written. Hence, I can communicate with all categories of people effectively and help them improve their lives. I can empower people like connecting them with available resources. I developed empowerment skills because I discovered most of the domestic violence cases and poor parenthood are due to poverty. Therefore, I committed to offering constant support. In the course of my work, I meet with discrimination cases where I had to develop advocacy skills to assist vulnerable population like people living with a disability, minority tribes, and races.

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I also developed the skill of interviewing individuals, families, and groups. Finally, I have considered problem-solving, teamwork, and time management skills as important in the field of social work. That is why I have equally developed them. Therefore, I believe that with the experience and skills I have acquired, I can work effectively with diverse populations to make a positive change in their lives.

What Barriers or Challenges Do You Anticipate in Working with These Diverse Populations?

The current society we are living is full of many vices: crime, social injustices, oppression, and discrimination. Therefore, I am anticipating that there will be many cases to deal with given that technology also has its effects on society. With diversity in populations, the cases will be complicated such that forms of discrimination will shift from physical to even psychological. Thus, need to be creative through critical thinking is necessary to meet the goals as a professional. Also, communication barrier with those not understanding common languages like English, Spanish will pose a challenge in delivering our services. Finally, the high inflation and demand in jobs will make most parents to ignore their role of parenthood. As a result, duties of guidance and counseling, motivation and talent nurturing will be left for teachers and social workers.

Describe Your Understanding of the Social Work Profession, Its Code of Ethics and Core Values

Social work is service to people by enhancing their wellbeing. They promote social justice and social change in the course of delivery of services to people. They support, empower, advice, and develop vulnerable groups to make their lives better. Core values, which include service, social justice, integrity, competence, understanding dignity and worth of the person, as well as the importance of human relationships, guide social workers. These values support the profession and should be embraced by every social worker. For instance, it is important to have the knowledge of social problems, causes, effects, and possible ways to address them. Virtues (like honesty and empathy) support the effectiveness of service delivery. Code of ethics also governs their practices to people because it is through being ethically principled that you will be able to help others without discrimination and interfering with their privacy and safety. With the chance to study this program, I will look into detail how I will uphold them even in contradicting situations based on societal values and religious views.

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Given Your Education and Life Experiences, What Is It That You Hope to Unlearn and Relearn in This Program?

I have learned more in sociology like understanding social setups, socialization processes, and social impact of emerging issues like technology, globalization, and how to deal with diverse populations. Having understood the causes of many social problems experienced in the current generation like domestic violence, addiction, poverty, parenting issues, they have exposed me to the reality. Hence, now I can face them with the confidence of offering support to make life better. I do not anticipate unlearning anything but I believe I can relearn human concepts, application of social theories in understanding common social problems. I hope to learn in detail these social issues prevalent in the diverse population and come up with new ways to address them. I want to learn ways I can integrate technology so that I reach more vulnerable and varied populations. Therefore, this program will help me develop more knowledge and skills and support achievement of my career goals.

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