The coming of spring is one of my favorite times of year. I look forward to seeing beautiful spring days, flowers in bloom, and the anticipation of it fills me with hope and excitement. I cannot think of a better time for Social Work Month than the month of March because that is when we move into the season of spring, the season of hope. When I was in the final year of my graduate program, the topic of hope came up. I had a challenging case that I was worried I would have to close. I went into my supervisor's office, prepared to argue on behalf of this family. I laid out all of the information and I said to my supervisor, "I know it looks bad, but I still have hope for this family. We can't give up hope." She looked at me and said, "Of course you can't. We’re social workers. That's what we do, we hope. In the darkest moments of our clients' lives, when it looks to them as if all hope is lost, we become the holders of hope for them so that the light of hope isn't extinguished. It is held safely in our hands until they are ready to take it from us and move forward with hope again."
We know that we are facing difficult times. As so many of us do when faced with challenges, people turn to God to help them find answers and hold on to hope. They hope to find answers where it seems there are none and they hope to find help and relief from suffering. In answer to their prayers, our Heavenly Father calls people to come and serve, to help those in need, and to hold that precious light of hope for them. Many of those who are called come to our School and the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology to learn and practice the skills of social work so that they can become those who hold hope for the vulnerable, the oppressed, the marginalized, and often unseen members of society.
One of the ways that the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology has answered the call to serve is to offer the Master of Social Work program online so that those called to service, wherever they may be, can receive the knowledge and the skills they need to be of help to the people in their cities and communities. Being able to attend Loma Linda University, a place of hope, faith, and learning with a social work program dedicated to developing strong clinical social workers has been an answer to prayer of its own. Many of our students who never imagined they would be able to attend our School are learning online from faculty who share that call to service. It is through collaboration with our community providers and students that we are able to help develop compassionate clinical social workers who are equipped to go out in the world and serve others.
I have never forgotten the words of my supervisor; they continue to inspire me every day. I share those same words with my students hoping that they too will be inspired. As our program continues to grow it is my fervent prayer that with the help of our Heavenly Father, the light of hope will continue grow and become brighter in the homes and communities of all. It is here, through the work of the faculty and staff, the dedication of our students, and with the support and love of God, that torches are not passed, they are ignited in each of our students so they can carry the light of hope and aid wherever they may go. May God bless each and every one of you in all that you do.
Written by Assistant Professor Christi Bell, MSW, LCSW