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  • I have a theme song, come on!

  • I love this song!

  • And I love this song because everybody needs a hero.

  • And, in fact, at some point, when life throws us a big challenge,

  • we need a super hero!

  • Somebody who is not scared to jump into the chaos

  • and fight the good fight with us shoulder to shoulder, right?

  • So I've got good news for you today.

  • Because all around the world,

  • cleverly disguised as mild mannered individuals,

  • we have thousands of super heroes,

  • over 600,000 of them in the US alone.

  • We just call them social workers.

  • (Applause) (Cheers)

  • Now, for some of you, when I said super hero,

  • that might not have been the first thing that popped

  • into your head was social worker.

  • Maybe what popped into your head

  • was something a little more like this

  • (Laughter)

  • peering suspiciously at your parenting skills.

  • (Laughter)

  • Or, if not, maybe like this:

  • Peace and love and singing Kum By YaH.

  • Well, I'm here to tell you social workers are neither of those things.

  • My goal when you leave today is that the image you conjure

  • when you hear social worker looks a little more like this.

  • (Laughter)

  • Social worker as super hero.

  • And I want to spend the next couple of minutes talking to you about that.

  • Social workers are not just nice people with good hearts,

  • Social workers are educated professionals

  • who go through accredited university programs

  • that are grounded in a rigorous research base.

  • And what they learn there is part of what makes them a super hero.

  • The two biggest things?

  • They learn their mission, and they learn how to make change happen.

  • The mission of social work is to promote and support

  • individual and community well-being,

  • and to fight social injustice.

  • Social workers do that because we learn

  • how to see and understand the invisible inner connections

  • between people, and their families, and their neighborhood,

  • and their community, and society, and laws, and policies.

  • And we know that when those connections tangle or break at any of those levels,

  • problems happen.

  • So we learn evidence-based interventions

  • that can help solve the problems around those tangles and breaks.

  • And with that, we can make powerful change happen.

  • A second reason I like to think of social workers as super heroes

  • is because, just like with a super hero,

  • everyone is going to need a social worker at some point

  • because everybody's going to face a big challenge in their life at some point.

  • Maybe the challenge starts early, and you're born prematurely.

  • Who helps your new parents find a specialist?

  • Or figure out how to pay those huge hospital bills?

  • Or find a car seat for a teeny tiny baby?

  • Hospital social workers.

  • A little later on in life, you're in school

  • and maybe you're being bullied,

  • or you're thinking about dropping out.

  • Who designs and implements the anti-bullying

  • and the drop out prevention programs in schools?

  • School social workers.

  • Later on, as you get older, maybe you face

  • one of those grown-up problems, a divorce,

  • or you lose your job, and you sink into a depression,

  • maybe you even start drinking too much.

  • Who do you turn to for counseling and therapy?

  • Licensed, clinical social workers.

  • Did you know that the majority of mental health services in this country

  • are provided by social workers?

  • It's nearly 70%.

  • And, then we have those really tough end-of-life issues:

  • your 86 year old dad has Parkinson's disease,

  • but is insistent that he can live independently.

  • Who helps you figure out if he really is safe?

  • Or, who helps you find in-home health?

  • Or navigate those really difficult conversations about wills,

  • and power-of-attorney, and DNR?

  • Geriatric social workers.

  • Then there's the bigger picture.

  • Who's running the non profit agency? Who's organizing the community?

  • Who's fighting to make sure the laws and the policies are just and fair?

  • Those are social work managers, organizers, and advocates.

  • So at some point, everybody's going to need a social worker.

  • The final thing that I like to think about

  • when I think about social workers as super heroes

  • came to me when my friend Carla gave me a mug for my birthday

  • that had this saying on it,

  • and at first I thought it was cute:

  • "I'm a social woker what's your super power?"

  • But then I realized, that's exactly what social workers do.

  • We say, "Hi, I'm a social worker. What's your super power?"

  • Social workers believe in strengths and we help people find their strengths

  • so that they can face the challanges that they're wrestling with.

  • My favorite social worker strength story comes from my friend, Martha,

  • who was a social worker who lived on the coast

  • and every year, she would take a social work intern.

  • Well, one year she had a young woman she assigned him to a client

  • named... I'll call him Bob.

  • Bob struggled with a severe mental illness

  • and isolated himself in his apartment

  • and all he would do all day, obsessively, was listen to the radio.

  • So Martha sends the student to do an assessment,

  • the student comes back.

  • Martha says, "So, what'd you learn?"

  • And the student says,

  • "I learned he is really good at listening to the radio."

  • But she had a plan.

  • She went to the local coast guard office where apparently there is

  • somebody who has to listen to the short wave radio all day long

  • and write down the announcements and the news in a log.

  • And she convinced them to let Bob volunteer.

  • Then she convinced Bob to try it:

  • "Really Bob, they want you to listen to the radio!"

  • Well he did.

  • And he listened to the radio

  • better than anybody had ever listened to the radio.

  • They loved him! They hired him part-time.

  • So then Bob said, "OK, I have a little bit of money.

  • I'm getting out of the house a little bit, I'd like to try eating out.

  • I haven't done that in years, but I'm scared to do it alone.

  • Would you meet me at the local diner?"

  • So the student says yeah and the next day she gets there,

  • but she gets there early, and she sits on the far side of the diner

  • so that when Bob comes in, she hollers across the diner,

  • "Bob, what did you hear on the radio?"

  • Bob hollers back all the news.

  • (Laughter)

  • They do this a couple times a week, for several weeks,

  • so every local in the diner knows

  • that if you want to know what's going on, you ask Bob.

  • And Martha swears that by the end it was like that scene in Cheers

  • when Norm walks in, and it was like "Bob!"

  • So Bob has a job, and money, and friends, and it all happened

  • because the social worker tapped into his super power of radio listening.

  • My final thought for you today is this:

  • as I've said before, everyone, at some point will need a social worker.

  • When that happens to you, don't worry, don't be embarrassed; go find one.

  • I promise you, they will be a super hero.

  • And better yet, they will help you find your super power

  • so that you can work through whatever life is throwing your way.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

I have a theme song, come on!

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【TEDx】働く人はヒーローだ! (Social workers as super-heroes | Anna Scheyett | TEDxColumbiaSC)

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    楊淨淯   に公開 2015 年 04 月 18 日
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