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.

Today, we hear from on Charles Ausbrook, a Family Support Specialist at Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy. Below, Charles shares his valuable insights on empowering social workers and the ways they, in turn, empower the communities they serve.

While I am not a trained social worker, I have had the opportunity to work with many throughout my career in education. Social workers play a crucial role in supporting families and their children’s academic success. They possess the expertise to identify and address barriers that hinder a child’s education. This includes connecting families to essential services and programs tailored to their specific needs.

Having social workers in schools readily available means extra support for students, families, and staff. Teachers primarily devote their time to curriculum development and preparing students for assessments. Social workers, on the other hand, specialize in addressing the unique needs of families and the surrounding community.

In today’s educational landscape, the responsibility of addressing student needs has broadened. Staff members, from teachers to administrators and program providers, often take on aspects traditionally associated with the social worker role. This may include tasks such as referring students to mental health services or providing clothing assistance. Through this collaborative approach, social workers, educators, and other support staff work together to empower families and propel students towards graduation and future success.