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 Cassandra Klein, a Licensed Social Worker and Family Support Specialist at Memorial. Below, Cassandra 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 work month matters to me because it helps bring awareness to the profession and highlights the amazing work that is done daily by thousands of social workers. It’s a time to remember and honor those who have fought and continue to fight to provide support and empower vulnerable populations. This year the theme is “Empowering Social Workers”, which brings awareness to how important it is to not only make sure the people we support are empowered but to also equip ourselves and make sure we are supported, and our profession is properly recognized. This month also reminds us that our work is never done, and we must continue to work to address social injustice.

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

Social workers are instrumental in schools because it allows them the ability to work closely with students and their families for multiple years. This allows for strong relationships to be built between the social worker, students and their families. When students and their families feel supported, they are more likely to engage with the social worker and the school. Having the professional support of a social worker may mean the difference between staying in school or dropping out, managing depression or letting it overwhelm the student, a family having food or going hungry, or a student being able to come to school with clean clothes and the resources they need. Social workers are just one of many integral parts working together to make sure the student and their family are supported.

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

Individuals can support social workers by being understanding and collaborating to help solve a problem. I have received a lot of help and support from my administration, my co-workers and my community. Supporting a social worker can be as simple as sharing resources that can be passed onto others who may be in need of them. One of my goals at the school is to make sure the students and their families are supported so that education can placed at the top of their priority list. This is impossible if the family is worried about food, a place to sleep at night, or essential items that may be needed. Being able to help and support others through tough times is vital. At some point, most people need a little help and I’m glad I can be there for our students and their families.