This week — March 14 to March 20 — is BC Social Work Week, as proclaimed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean.
“The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything about the way social workers respond to community needs and presented significant challenges" said Lorry-Ann Austin, chair of the Thompson Nicola branch of the BC Association of Social Workers.
"Social workers in every sector have innovated and created new ways of providing essential services particularly to those made vulnerable by the pandemic."
This year's theme is "Social work is essential" and emphasizes that social workers are:
• Essential to meeting the immediate needs of those carrying the pain of loss.
• Essential to those navigating overwhelming uncertainty imposed on peoples’ lives.
• Essential to addressing the profound systemic racism thrust into the spotlight by the pandemic.
• Essential to advocating to reconcile the economic, health and social inequalities glaringly exposed by not only COVID-19, but efforts to flatten the curve, as well.
"We have several opportunities this week for social workers to come together online and one drive-thru appreciation event" said Austin. "It's time to pause, recognize the immense efforts that social workers have made over the last year, and to honour their commitment and dedication."
The Thompson Nicola Heart of the Grasslands Award for distinguished service will be presented to the ASK Wellness Society for its outstanding effort to continue providing services at the frontlines of the pandemic.
The BC Association of Social Workers is a voluntary, not-for-profit membership association that supports and promotes the profession of social work and advocates for social justice.