lucky in many ways. I have always had a loving family, with parents who provided a warm environment in which to grow up. Though some parts of growing up were typically a little rough, for the most part, I had the proverbial storybook childhood. My family has provided me with a strong supportive network and I have been fortunate enough to attend good schools. I believe that all these factors help to encourage the pursuit of one's dreams.
Many people wonder, then, at my interest in Social Work. What, many ask, do I know about difficult childhoods, about people and families who live in need?
For me, however, the answer is easy. Simply put, I believe that every child should have the benefit of a childhood like mine. It never ceases to amaze me that despite living in the wealthiest country in the world, many children in the United States continue to grow up in poverty and need, without the benefit of a quality education.
The choices are clear - to either wring my hands and despair over this situation or to do something about it. I want to help ensure that every child has the benefit of a supportive family network and an excellent education.
It may be a cliche, but I really do want to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.
Towards this goal, I am strongly committed to helping families stay together in a strong, positive and loving environment. I believe that the family is the basic unit of society. It is within the families that children first learn about forming loving and respectful social relationships. It is also through the network of family and friends that children first develop a sense of confidence, self-worth and their unlimited potential. Through their families, children develop an early sense of their social roles and their place in the world.
Unfortunately, the opposite could also be true. Through my previous work with group homes and foster agencies, I have seen first-hand the detrimental effects of dysfunctional, abusive and neglectful family situations on the most innocent of victims. In some instances, children become neglected or abused simply because their parents are not ready for the responsibility of raising a child. In such cases, I have found great satisfaction in participating in training sessions and seminars to teach parenting and childcare skills. Such programs go a long way towards keeping families together and improving familial relations.
Some of the saddest cases involve the children of schizophrenic and other mentally disabled parents. The parents in such cases are kind and loving most of the time, though the danger of hurting their children is always present. Because the abuse is not deliberate, it is even more frustrating to see how children suffer when their parents are troubled.
However, I have are also the most harrowing instances of intentional physical and psychological abuse. In the group home where I worked, children came in with the most horrific injuries. I have participated in counseling and therapy sessions with five-year-olds covered in bruises. There have been young boys with broken limbs and little girls who have been sexually abused.
This first-hand experience helped to fuel my interest in the social and behavioral sciences. I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology for my undergraduate studies, in order to better understand the causes and effects of such abuse. I believe that I have done well in my academic pursuits largely due to my experience working with abused children and families in crisis.
Through my studies, I have additionally learned that some injuries - the result of psychological abuse - are more difficult to diagnose since their symptoms are not as readily apparent as a black eye. I am particularly concerned about the long-term effects of such abuse, including potential cognitive difficulties that will affect a child's learning experience in school. Even children who get through school can suffer, since their effects could remain hidden and would not be felt until adulthood. One of the most hurtful legacies of psychological abuse is the perpetuation of a vicious cycle, where children grow up to be abusive parents themselves.
For me, the cases and problems presented above best illustrate the challenges of a career in Social Work. In…