How long have you been a social worker?
I have been a social worker for seven years. Three years at DDD, two years as part of a school and two years at an autism center.
Please list any degrees, licenses, etc.
I graduated from Boise State University with my Master’s in Social Work in May 2018. I am currently in the process of gaining licensure for L.M.S.W.
Why/How did you get into social work?
From a young age, I knew that I wanted to help people either as a cop or a firefighter but those careers were not for me. When my younger brother was diagnosed with Autism, I became more involved with the developmental disabilities population as a respite provider and Group Home Counselor. I became an Applied Behavior Analysis therapist and program director and even thought about being an Occupational Therapist, Physical therapist or Speech Pathologist. These careers were not for me. While working at a school for children with emotional/behavioral needs and dual diagnoses, I was mentored by a social worker who inspired me to move into the social work field with the various ways to help others.
What motivates you to do social work?
I enjoy being able to help people every day and making a difference in people’s lives. I enjoy being able to use information from a broad perspective to interact with members, families and community partners. Oftentimes, we get called as the last resort and in some extreme situations, we have to dig and find information before we are able to act. Maybe we find something that should not be happening to our families or some type of bias and we have to stand up and advocate for someone. Lastly, the people in the social work field are incredibly caring, motivated and supportive people; I enjoy being a part of a great team dedicated to helping others.
What advice would you give someone considering social work?
Social work is a hard and thankless job at times. The best advice that I can give is to 1) take a lunch break every day, 2) Work to have balance between work and personal life, 3) try your best, and 4) have fun.
March is National Social work Month and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The intersection of social work and the needs of a community are demonstrated perfectly by the work performed by employees of the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). The services and supports DDD provides to members tap into the potential of each individual member and empowers them to lead self-directed, health and meaningful lives. We are grateful for the passion and dedication exhibited by our social workers.
By Lyn Riley