March is Social Work Month, and the theme this year is “Empowering Social Workers.” Here at Say Yes Cleveland, we’re committed to recognizing the incredible impact social workers have on our community, especially within the educational landscape. Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting the inspiring work of our very own Say Yes Cleveland Social Workers.

Today, we turn the spotlight on Joyce Freeman, a Licensed Social Worker and Family Support Specialist at Horizon Science Academy. Below, Joyce shares her valuable insights on empowering social workers and the ways they, in turn, empower the communities they serve.

What significance does Social Work Month hold for you?

Social worker month holds a great significance to me in my life. I have always wanted to be a social worker after watching women in my family work in this field. They have shown me great strength and dedication that they hold toward the field. As a Social worker sometimes, you have to put your own beliefs to the side and move in the best interest of vulnerable clients. Social workers advocate for those who are unable or do not know how to access the resources they need. I have found being a social worker to be very rewarding, and social work makes this world a better place.

In what ways do social workers play a crucial role in the success of students and schools?

I currently work at a charter school and my role as a Social Worker plays a very crucial role in the success of my school. While working at a charter school some of the resources that are offered to public schools are not offered to charter school students. So as a Social worker I have to search for resources and services that are available for my students. There are minimal needs that my student need however they still need social, emotional and educational support.

How can the community create a more empowering and supportive environment for social workers?

The community needs to be truly educated on why social workers are important and to also understand what we do. Social workers are multifaceted and wear many hats. Once the community understands what we do they would show more appreciation and gratitude towards having a social worker involved in their lives.