I wrote this poem because this is how I see myself in the world. Too often people present those in the helping profession as if they are bestowing gifts and opportunity on people. I don't see it that way. I see myself as a partner. I think seeing it any other way is prescribing to that old view of charity where the giver is morally superior, and the receiver is somehow morally inept. I see it as infantilizing. I want to be a partner to people, to the community. I think that is truly what social work is. It's filling in the gaps.
I am a bridge. I connect the hungry to food, the homeless to shelter, the isolated to community, the hopeless to hope. I am a bridge.
I am a ladder. I support ascension from despair, climbing toward goals, reaching for opportunities, stepping up to potential. I am a ladder.
I am a jar. I preserve awareness of culture, access to knowledge and resources, the right to autonomy and choice, dignity and compassion. I am a jar.
I am a paintbrush. I create bold demonstrations of justice, opportunities to reflect, freedom to express emotion, images of what could be. I am a paintbrush.
I am not a savior, a blessing, an angel, a hero.
I do not save, I connect. I do not bestow charity, I support. I do not divinely protect, I preserve. I do not rescue, I create.
I am a bridge. I am a ladder. I am a jar. I am a paintbrush.
I am a social worker.