Friday, November 14, 2014

The cost of Privilege

During our last class session a subject was brought up that I found very interesting.

We often take for granted all the privileges that we have by simply being born in the United States, during our class we have examined the devastating effects of poverty in America and all of the hardship, tribulations, and sacrifices one must when living below the poverty line just to get from day to day. I believe however that is is important to keep things in perspective, in that even our poorest are living in relative luxury when compared to those living in poverty in regions such as India, west africa, rural china, and the middle east etc. where things that we view as basic necessities of life such as running water, education, fare wages, democratic elections, and electricity are often completely unattainable. I don't say this to devalue or dismiss poverty in America, or to suggest that we stop fighting to improve the quality of life of americans living below the poverty line but simply to put things in perspective. Especially when even the most minute aspects of first world living (our cell phones, clothes, shoes, electronics) are obtained at the expense of the third world wether through labour or resources it all comes at price. We live at the expense of others and it is something that we should always be aware of. As perspective social workers we would be doing ourselves and the world a dis-service if we choose only to focus our efforts on advocating for the rights of those living in U.S our focus should be global, to increase increase increase quality of life and advocate for the rights of all people. If we do not we are simply perpetuating the notion that
an American life holds more value then another.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

U.S. compared to other countries

I found a statement in our reading, “we are a nation of resources but not a nation of social services aimed at preventing poverty and poor health” this statement supports a lot of what we discussed in class this evening when Susan asked us where does the US rank in social welfare. I believe the two correlate, in most cases than none someone in poverty is likely to have health concerns due to lack of funds, education, and resources. Our country life expectancy is below most other developed nations. The U.S spends the largest amount of money on health care. My question is where does it go? Yes we have great technology, as Mahria mentioned during our discussion but why is our infant mortality higher than other countries? There are resources available many which were presented this evening, SNAP, WIC, and Medicare, etc. Our government puts a lot of prominence on the wealthy, allowing for breaks with taxes for employment, home ownership, and education. Those funds could be used in lower income communities, providing accessible resources for families. In some low income households it is difficult for a single parent and in a few cases a two parent household to afford transportation other than to work and home. Funds could be used to provide mobile serves to identified areas in need; I believe this could improve our rating. If all U.S. citizens were treated fairly we could decrease the gap between the rich and poor and improve poverty and poor health.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The older adults

According to, by 2029, the youngest of the baby boomers will reach retirement age by turning 65; it is also estimated that by 2030 the older adult population will have doubled. "Possibly more than 80 million will be on Medicare and social security"(CNN.COM). If we don't come up with a new plan, our generation will struggle after retirement without social security benefits. I work with the elderly community and for most of them, social security is not enough to live of, but it helps. I was also talking to my elderly next door neighbor just the other night, he is retired due to health issues, but his wife is still working full time because they can not simply afford not to. As social workers we must advocate for the rights of the elderly and become more involved in policy making. I included a video that talks about the social security program crisis and the lack of working people vs. the people getting the benefits. I think that this is a very important issue for social workers to be aware of because it at some point, it will affect everyone as we continues to age and eventually retire.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 1 blog update

In light of the recent readings, I feel this huge responsibility that I've been somewhat aware of on a personal level, to fight for human rights and advocate for issues by resolving problems best suited to the wishes of our clients. I find it interesting what the Chu, Tsui, and Yan article called attention to as the standards that we are responsible for upholding. I believe it would be a conscious effort especially for me in not allowing my own personal beliefs to affect my performance as a social worker in advocating for the rights of my client even if I don't share the same beliefs or values they would uphold. It's a charge and a challenge to every social worker after reading this article to make an effort to be conscious of any biases or indifference they reflect and to acknowledge them as a tool for staying impartial to the rights of the client.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Poverty" in America

           One thing that stood out the most when reading the assigned chapters and listening to today’s lecture from class were the negative connotations that are directly correlated with the word poverty. In class, when we were going around the room and discussing what comes to mind when thinking of the poverty, mostly everybody’s reaction was one of negativity or pessimism. I believe it is fair to say that the society we live in today assumes that poverty comes from a lack of hard work or determination. In my personal opinion, that could not be further from the truth.  

There are millions of workers in America who work full-time jobs, sometimes more than one, to try and support their family’s needs but somehow still fall under the poverty line. “In 2011, the US Department of Labor reported at least 10 million people worked and were still below the unrealistic official US poverty line, an increase of 1.5 million more than the last time they checked” (Quigley, 2013). That is an astonishing number, to me, for a couple reasons. Not only is that simply an obscene number of people who are working but still struggling to provide for their family, but more importantly, how many people need to struggle in order to get their voices heard. Nobody who works hard in America should struggle to feed their children. Yet, nothing substantial seems to be done for the “working poor” in America to end this ridiculous problem.  

This is also a very serious problem I’ve seen my entire life growing up in a small town outside of New York City. One perfect example that I have from my adolescence that proves this to be sadly true came when I worked my first job in a kitchen at the local hospital in town. One of my co-workers was a mother of three, and worked six days a week, 7:30 to 3:30, day in and day out. She also worked a night job about three days out of the week. One day at work I overheard her talking to her friend, who also worked at the hospital, saying that the night before she had to put her children to bed hungry. She simply did not have the money or resources, for dinner, on that particular night. I remember thinking how absolutely ludicrous that sounded, and I haven’t forgotten since, and probably never will. In fact, the more I think about it, the more infuriated I become.

One of the biggest reasons why the working poor are left with absolutely no money or resources, is the outrageous income disparity in America today. Over the past 25 years economic growth has not been beneficial to all workers, in fact, it really only benefited those who were already well off. “ The top 20 percent of households in this country realized an increase of more than 50 percent…while the bottom 20 percent realized an increase of only 2 percent” (Segal, 2013). A 2% increase over the past 25 years? While the rich just keep getting richer? That doesn’t even seem possible in this country, but it is. Does that sit well with you? Because it sure doesn’t sit well with me.

Therefore, my main goal of this blog post was to simply get everyone to think differently about the word “poverty” if you haven’t already. Poverty does not describe the type of person you are, or how much effort you put in every day of your life. So next time you hear a discussion about poverty and the negative connotations that go along with it, maybe drop some actual knowledge on what poverty in America truly is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Micro vs. Macro

Hello everybody - Thanks for checking out my post, (my very first ever blog post) not that you have any other options this week! No pressure though to make the topic thought provoking and insightful!!

     I wanted to focus on the topic that came up briefly during our lecture - the duality of the social worker's role in our society or micro verses macro. I think conversation on this topic is pertinent for all of us during this phase in our career. Many of us are evaluating our personal strengths and weaknesses as we make decisions on field placement and personal paths of employment.

     When it was brought up in class my mind jumped to the debate of "working mothers" vs. "stay-at home moms". The debate has been going on for the last few decades because of the rise of women in the workplace. As we know from the "Rosie the Riveter" card placed on the timeline, women filled the shoes of their fighting male counterparts in factories during WWII. After the war the soldiers returned home and so did the women; where they stayed for sometime. The 1960's gave way to much social change and that paved the way for the modern women's right movement of the 1970's. This gave more opportunity for women to pursue education and careers of their own.  Along the way, we saw as the economic shift that changed from a family being able to survive on a single incomes to many families needing a second income to make ends meet. This faced many more moms with the challenge of staying home with the children or joining the work force...

     There is no right answer - we know that BUT there is a whole industry built around "pitting one side against the other". Many would argue that media, mainly magazines play to the insecurities women on both sides. This influence makes one side feel "right" and the other feel "wrong" - instead of honoring both roles and realizing the strengths of one only make the other more valued.

OK, now to bridge the two thoughts....

     When we look at the debate over social work - MICRO vs. MACRO we can see how the STAY-AT-HOME MOM might be comparable to the MICRO LEVEL WORKERS as opposed to the WORKING MOM drawling a parallel to the  MACRO LEVEL WORKER.

Now some questions:
What is the value of one role as opposed to the other,?
Could we have one without the other?
Does societal changes influence one role or the other and their importance?
How does one's own personal life experience influence their choice in which role to assume?
What personal traits make a person better suited for one role or the other?
What personal values/beliefs influence ones choice?
How can we assume both roles without sacrifice?

     The dramatic visual we were posed with last night in class, about babies in a river gave us a lot of food for thought...

I think in today's modern society we are more blessed than ever. When we sit on the riverbank we are not isolated. We have a smart phone in our pocket - we have social media - ways to voice issues and concerns and yell for help, we have a contact list a mile long and can call for back up with we can swim any more, we can access google maps and find out where the babies are being dumped in at, we have ways to contact the best net makers on the planet that will gladly support our cause and make us a world class net to catch many more babies. 

We have the whole world at our finger tips and with the right knowledge we can utilize that to join the forces of MICRO and MACRO together. 

     Just like all moms have the same goal of raising great kids - all those who enter into social work need to focus on the one goal of making a better world. Some in social work have a strong skill set that make them best suited for MICRO work and some have vision and imagination that make them better MACRO. These two sides can and should work together to initiate real change. 

     ....If we look to the biblical story of Moses we see the last famous baby to come floating down a river ended up liberating the Israelite people from oppressive Egyptian slavery. Had the pharaoh's daughter went to see who put him in the river as opposes to getting him out the whole course of history would be changed! 

Her work on the micro level gave Moses the platform to work on the macro!

Social Work as a moral and political practice

Social Welfare is more than Public assistance and government aide. Social welfare touches on any subject that is a social issue that needs to be changed. Before this course, when thinking about social welfare policy, I would thing of the programs that we provide to society as social workers and the ethical standards that come with them. This week’s reading assignments are a great start to the course. The Chu article informs us about social morals and political practice. As a social worker we must be competent of all ethical procedures when working with our clients. The NASW Code of Ethics is the guideline that all social workers must abide by when providing services to their clients. As a social worker, one must conduct themselves according to the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics and be self reflective in the process (Chu, 2009). It world be morally wrong for a social work practitioner to have expectations set fro their clients but their behaviors do not coincide. As a social worker we are to be culturally competent and in all areas to provide social justice to our clients. We must be knowledgeable of all theories and standards and of our clients individual needs to provide what is good for them. What we and the social systems feel are good for clients may not be the same as what the client feels is good for them. 
While working in the Behavioral Health Field, I have encountered many great social workers in the profession. I think that it is very important for individuals to be able to decide where they want to go and for us as social workers to aide them in the process. How can we say that we want to promote independence and we have some programs that are set up in a fashion where the social systems is making the decisions for the clients. While working with children and families in the Mental Health Field, often times ethical procedures and guidelines miss a few steps because we as professionals feel as though we know what is best for the clients. There is a saying "might makes right" and that suggest that because I am the adult and I am big and you are little that you should not have a voice and you are wrong. Children cannot consent to anything but are they undervalued when considering what is best for the child. Working with children we tell them how they are supposed to act based on society, but is that always the answer? I have to always take a step back when working with the younger population because everything is taken for face value. The values and beliefs of children should be valued just as any others. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Results of Untreated PTSD

Chapter 11 of our book speaks about a Child Welfare System that will be confronting emerging social concerns such as obesity and mental health issues particularly in the Latino and African American communities. What I like about this chapter is the thought that we as social service providers must get out in front of these concerns and advocate for more preventative approaches in caring for our children. For example, "Immunization, can and has prevented childhood diseases, while early childhood education and compensatory learning can prevent high school drop out, which also prevents one from becoming possibly unemployable, and dependent upon welfare." These are some great preventative strategies in addressing many of the issues that young Latino and African American men and women have faced and will continue to face in their everyday lives. With that said, I want to delve deeper into the mental health component of this emerging social concern that has continually gone completely ignored but play a significant role in the decimation of families, and cost our communities the lost of many lives. More often than not when we speak of mental health issues and welfare concerns particularly in the lives of African American children, we often think about ADD, ADHD, ODD, etc., and while these psychosis are real and present significant challenges to families, educators, and advocates, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, continues to go unrecognized and the residual effects are devastating to our communities. In urban communities such as the one I come from, the issue of PTSD is real. Most of the trauma stems from witnessing gun violence in the streets, violence in the home or school, and this experience goes untreated for years. The residual effects as previously stated is devastating; as we will see in the video above; hurt people hurt people. We have to begin to address the mental health issue of PTSD in our children at a young age, before these children grow up to become what has traumatized them.


HIV/AIDS is a highly advancing disease all over the world. According to reports since 1981, there are more than 1.8 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have been infected with HIV; today, more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV. Over the years medical experts have been and still are trying to find a core for this epidemic. Although, the numbers have gone down since then, but there are still new infections that remain at about 50,000.

There are programs that are provided in the prevention of this disease. Also not only government programs provide prevention, churches also. 

According to the article “HIV/AIDS Policy initiative” written by Geoff Foster, 

“The main providers of health services were religious organizations, a situation that continues today in some countries with severe HIV/AIDS epidemics. Religious health networks are the second largest entity of health care providers in the developing world after government programs."

I came across interesting information regarding a treatment drug called “the Sondashi formula HIV/AIDS treatment drug” out of Zambia, Africa. Dr. Ludwig Sondashi, is the inventor of the Sondashi Formula 2000 HIV herbal remedy which he claims has cured over 400 people suffering from HIV after taking his medicine.

As of last year one man has claimed to have been cured from taking this medication. He stated he tested HIV+ on July 1, 2005 and now he’s cured. The man stated:

“I am so happy because I think I have broken a record for Dr. Sondashi's drug. I only took it for four months because I started taking it on January 21 this year and I doubt if there is anyone else who has been cured in such a short period of time. I hear others have to take the drug for at least six months and above for them to get positive results."

Do you think the U.S. should invest in Dr. Sondashi medication and if so why? Also, would you recommend this medication to someone you know that’s living with this disease (only after you have done your research).