Why we are social workers

By Alyse Walton

There are moments in life where we get to experience something life changing, moments when we are humbled into silence and reminded life is a gift.

Wednesday, May 31st, our group was given the privilege to visit a very special house. Some of the kindest people I have met live in this home. It was created by nuns to care for those at end of life as well as those unable to care for themselves on their own due to a chronic mental or physical ailment.
During our stay, we learned this home only allows for women to stay. The home is supported through a gift system. The nuns only allow gifts to be given — they do not go out looking for charity or handouts, they simply rely on God to handle all of their needs. The sister informed us that in her many years at this home, her husband (God) had never let her down.
This is where we came in as a group. This home has many different responsibilities and needs, such as rehabilitation, house and ground keeping, laundry and food services, and much more. Our group was able to immerse ourselves into this home through hands-on service. We broke into groups and some of us helped clean up outside, some of us hung clean laundry, some helped in rehabilitation, and some with kitchen duties. The rehabilitation center was my area of experience, so I will tell you a little about that. In this area, I worked with two groups: those that had mobility and those that did not. Regarding the people who did not have mobility, I watched as nurses checked for comfort: were they dry, how they smelled, how they looked, and if they were responsive.
The second group was those that had mobility. We helped them stretch, play a few games, go on a walk, and do tests with them to gauge their mobility levels. Some of these tests included walking on stairs, riding a stationery bike, throwing a ball, and screwing in objects for hand rotation movements.
Once we completed our assigned stations, we all regrouped and provided entertainment to these individuals. Laura hula-hooped, we all sang, we clapped to the music, and provided them some small gifts in the form of USF pens. This was a tear-jerker of a moment to see and feel all of their gratitude. The staff and some of the residents said sweet words of thanks.
This experience was eye opening and a reminder of why we are social workers, why we need to be advocates to push boundaries and stay true to ourselves and the people we are advocating for.

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