ISRAELJune/July 2024L'CHAIM

A Journey into Social Work

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By Dana Glasser

The decision to become a social worker often stems from a deep-rooted desire to make a difference in the lives of others. For me, this calling emerged from a place of profound personal loss. As a child, I experienced the heart-wrenching trauma of losing a loved one. This event not only shaped my early years but also set me on a path toward helping others navigate their hardships.

Growing up, I watched my family struggle to cope with the aftermath of our loss. It was during this time that I encountered a social worker who offered us support and guidance. Her compassion and dedication left an indelible mark on me, planting the seed for my future career.

Years later, with a degree in social work in hand, I found myself driven by the same empathy and resolve that once comforted my family. In addition, I was inspired by my social work professor and mentor to follow my dreams of helping individuals and families in need within my Jewish community. My professional journey has been varied, but my commitment to helping those in need has remained constant. Over the past 15 years, I worked for various Jewish non-profit organizations that focus on assisting individuals facing financial difficulties, behavioral health issues, and personal losses.

The decision to join a non-profit was a natural extension of my personal mission. Non-profits are often at the forefront of community support, providing critical services to those who might otherwise be overlooked. Here, I can channel my experiences and skills into creating tangible impacts, whether it’s through counseling, advocacy, or connecting clients with essential resources.

In my role, I encounter individuals who are grappling with the same issues that once affected my family. Each story resonates deeply with me, reinforcing my belief in the importance of empathy and support. It’s not just about offering solutions; it’s about being a steady presence in someone’s life during their most vulnerable moments. It is a gift to be able to help someone during these difficult vulnerable times. Our mission at Kindness Initiative is to help members be connected to resources to help meet their basic needs. We provide these referrals in a respectful, empathetic, and dignified manner to help our members achieve self-sustainability and the avoidance of reliance on an overly utilized impacted government welfare system.

Working in this field is not without its challenges. The emotional weight of the work can be heavy, and the systemic barriers many face are daunting. However, the reward of seeing someone regain their footing and move towards a better future is immeasurable. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of dedicated support.

My journey from personal loss to social work has been both a healing process and a source of profound fulfillment. I am continuously inspired by the strength and courage of those I serve. Each day, I am reminded of the importance of our work and the difference we can make in the lives of others. This path, though born of tragedy, has become my life’s purpose and greatest honor. I gain tremendous fulfillment and joy mentoring others to follow their path and achieve their lifelong dreams.

As I look to the future, I remain committed to advocating for and supporting those in need. I hope that, through my efforts, others may find the same comfort and guidance that helped me navigate my darkest days. In doing so, I honor the memory of my loved one and ensure that their legacy lives on in the positive changes I strive to make in the world.

Dana Glasser, LCSW is Program Director at Kindness Initiative.

 

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