In a phone conversation with my sister this past week, she shared a heartwarming story that I really needed to hear considering all that is going on in our world right now. My sister is the head “lunch lady” at an elementary school, and for the past week she has been handing out bagged meals to students in the parking lot of her school. She shared that several of the children who came to pick up lunch one day this past week expressed excitement that they had been provided with cantaloupe in their lunch sack.
Well, I think it's safe to say a lot of us did not expect to find ourselves here. Asked to stay at home and practice “social distancing”… and really do nothing but that. Maybe we’re getting outside for some fresh air, becoming tele-communication masters, tapping into our creativity, or, for some, starting to connect with parts of ourselves we’ve kept shuttered away for a long time.
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Being a mentor to anyone is not easy but being a mentor to a child or youth who’ve experienced trauma and/or instability, can be especially difficult. Fulfilling this important role for a child or youth who is healing from various hurts such as neglect, abuse or unmet mental health needs takes a lot of patience, commitment, empathy, good humor, compassion, creativity and, last but not least, time. Is it any wonder that we as a nation dedicate an entire month to celebrate the role of mentoring and those who choose to mentor?
To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, “Social Work helps the arc of the moral universe bend toward a better society.” Social Workers stand up every day for the disenfranchised, the abused, the homeless, the sick, the broken, the dying, the healing, the rejected, the fatherless and the stranger. Social workers are over 600,000 strong in the US alone, and yet, their work so often goes unnoticed and undervalued in society.