The Social Work Society of Red Deer College recently held their Social Work Showcase to help the community better understand the many things social workers do in the community.
“We wanted to challenge some of the misconceptions about social work and show the community the different ways that social workers work in the community and support clients in different populations,” Organizer Keira Shendaruk said. “We displayed some of the past and current work of social work students.”
Many of the works presented at the showcase were of the artistic nature, showing that there are many forms that social work takes in the community.
“There were a lot of artistic pieces that represent the populations we work with and the struggles that they have,” she said. “We showcased the innovative and collaborative ways we work with clients.
“We even had an art therapy table to showcase the type of work we do that people don’t think about like art therapy, music therapy, cognitive therapy, pet therapy and all kinds of other things.”
The point of the event was to remove the sometimes negative perceptions of social workers.
“The perception can often be that social workers only work in child welfare taking children away from families,” Shendaruk said. “Social workers definitely work in the area of child welfare, but there are many other things that people don’t think about such as an outreach, seniors, addictions and a lot of different services and fields.”
Recognizing how many different populations are struggling and need assistance can increase understanding of the work of social workers and also empathy towards the populations they work with, according to Shendaruk.
“There are so many people in our community that are struggling financially, psychologically, with mental health, with addiction and struggles within families like domestic violence,” she said. “There are a lot of people being taken advantage of and having a hard time time coping.
“Social workers are there to act as a liaison for them, connecting them with where they need to be connected and helping them develop coping skills and strategies.”
She added, “It was planned a little bit short notice. We would have loved to involve the community a bit more and next time we have an event, we will promote it more than we were able to this time.”