I believe the purpose of social work is to empower adults

I believe the  purpose of social work is to empower adults, children, families, groups and communities to participate and develop within society. Social workers practice in a society that is complex, constantly changing, and full of diversity. The majority of people to whom social workers provide services to are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in that society. Social workers give a voice to those in need. Social workers are employed in various work settings such as non-profit organizations, for profit organization, and even government funded agencies.
    Since social workers are responsible for catering to the needs of families, individuals and groups of people to improve the quality of life; they often provide a source of support and motivation for clients to become their best selves. Social workers have many roles. The roles are not limited to: brokers,educators, advocate, and researchers. Social workers are often brokers of knowledge meaning the contain vast amount of knowledge of resources in the community that can be used as tools to assist those in need of services. Social workers engage in advocacy to defend the rights of others and push for the legitimate rights and needs for marginalized members of society.Social workers engage in research to determine what services a specific population need.  
I believe the goal of social work is to empower clients one by one to improve the society as a whole to facilitate positive change/ growth and utilize personal strength. Social workers must also assess their clients inner and outer strengths,Considering that workers routinely work with marginalized populations. It is critical for social workers to be culturally competent of others and aware of their own culture practices, biases, and values.
As an African- American woman, I experience unique challenges. I experience sexism as a woman and I also experience racism that looms over the african american community. As a Black person, racism presents a great concern for me. Racism occurs when racial prejudices is upheld by laws and institutions such as law enforcement and health care.  Racism is embedded in the foundation of United States history as it legally sanctioned privileges to white americans and denied rights to other races. Racism was used to justify and legalize the enslavement of African American. Racism is still seen today long after the abolishment of slavery. Racism is contributing to higher incarceration rates, lower SES status, and overall lower quality of life in the African American community. I do n
To address racism can be ameliorated if those in power historically are aware of the the role racism played in their position of power today. Those who have the privilege of not experiencing racism must also realize that we are not in fact equal, and services are needed to help those who are still grappling with the negative effects of racism. Lowering the prevalence of  racism would call for open conversation to discuss the dynamics of racism and belief system of racism. I believe that racism will not end because it is taught. However, applying these strategies may lower the prevalence of racism.
    As a woman,  intimate partner violence is a huge concern for me. In the african- community, the leading cause of death for young black women aged 13 to 15 is due to intimate partner violence (Green, 2018). Compared to other racial/ ethnicity groups, Black women experience intimate partner violence at 35% higher rate. However, when comparing rates of seeking social services to address intimate partner violence, black women are least likely to seek out help (Green, 2018).  If children are involved, intimate partner affects the entire family. Growing up, it was a common for me to see women who were physically assaulted by their significant other. The abuse was often justified by members in the community on the premise that “it was her fault for provoking the situation” or “it is apart of being a woman”. It was common for women in my community, to switch their hairstyle to cover the fresh batch of bruises and welts that covered their cheeks. I believe domestic violence sheds a light on the toxic masculinity that has a stronghold on the African American community. Toxic masculinity is the need to emulate and maintain strong stereotypes of masculinity. Some example of toxic masculinity include the discouragement of seeking help (whether it be emotional support or seeking mental health services), encouragement of violence, and perpetuation of rape culture.
    Although intimate partner violence is considered a public health issue, there are strategies that can be implemented to lower the likelihood of intimate partner violence. Strategies include strengthening the economic support of families, instructing those on what a safe and healthy relationship looks like, and educating those on the early signs of intimate partner violence.
    Nevertheless, despite the hardships I face as young black woman. I would say that my upbringing created an environment for me to practice social work skills. As a young teen ,I tutored the younger children in my community. I also volunteered at my local after school center for elementary children.  I was a source of information for other students who are inquiring out activities/ resources within the community. I also collaborated with other students and teachers to run a toy drive for children in need of toys for christmas.
    My path to social work was cemented in my junior year of high school. It was the year I met my AP psychology teacher, Mr. Rehm. Mr. Rehm was the first instructor who actually made the lectures entertaining (although, he used techniques in psychology to facilitate proper learning). Mr. Rehm showed a great amount of passion when he taught the class. I  looked forward to the lectures. I looked forward to the tests in order to test myself on how much knowledge I retained from the class prior. I always passed the test with flying colors. The eagerness to learn driven me to pass my AP test and apply the credit toward college.
After passing my AP test at the end of my junior year,  Mr. Rehm began to remind us that we are almost seniors and it is important for us to consider what path we would like to pursue for our careers. Mr. Rehm encouraged us to pursue whatever path we wanted. At the end of the speech Mr. Rehm informed students that at least half of the students would pursue psychology or a field related to psychology. I knew I would be one of them.
    Keeping psychology in my mind as I entered the summer of senior year. I began to think about my career path I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to focus on a field similar to psychology, however I wanted to do practical  work where I can apply the skills in daily work environment. After conducting much research (and many quizzes) I decided that social work was the appropriate field for me since it incorporated the elements of psychology which was of great interest to me and I would be able to apply the skills learned in a daily employment setting.
Despite applying skills in a daily work setting. I am always reminding myself  that there is always room for improvement. I know skills that I believe I excel in and certain skills that need work. If I were to assess my skills in relation to my education and social practice. I would say that one area I need to work on is my organizational skills. I often have a hard time locating documents that I need to submit for further review. I also need to keep track of scheduled home visits and in-office meetings I have with clients. I work around this weakness by setting aside more time to organize my work space and taking my time filing away documents for future retrieval. I also have trouble recalling information or remembering important dates. This is very important in my work because I am required to submit documents at various deadlines. I work around this weakness by keeping reminders everywhere. I have a desk calendar, a personal handheld calendar, and a reminders set on my phone.  
Another weakness I have is practicing self-care. I struggle finding time for myself between my hectic schedule of working a full time job and a part time job. I often time neglect my own needs to cater to the needs of others. I realized I needed to practice self care when I noticed I became agitated, tired, and had little to no willpower to do certain activities I did in the past. I decided it was time to check in with myself to really determine how I feel. To work around this shortcoming, I decided to give myself one day out of the week where I turn off my phone and watch TV. It may seem simple, however to me it is relaxing. I am glued to my phone all week because of work and family. So it is nice to detach from the world and have nothing to focus on except a screen.
Considering that I have to set aside extra time to work around my weaknesses.I have strengths and unique skills that I developed upon becoming a social worker. After completing my undergraduate degree, I now consider myself a great team player. In my place of work, we work as team, so it is critical I communicate any changes that occur with client to reinforce cohesion within the group. I oftentimes have to take the initiative to communicate difficulties between co-workers to maintain a efficient and smooth work environment.
In addition to being a good team player, I am receptive to criticism. I view criticism as way to better myself and function efficiently in the work environment. I will take the initiative to alter the behaviors needed to become a better person overall. I also discovered that I am able to build rapport easily with clients. Clients often come to me when they need someone to listen to their personal problems and I lend a supportive ear to listen to their problems. I also validate the client’s feelings and let them know that I am genuinely listening to them. In addition, I  approach each client situation neutral and keeping my personal values out in order to effectively help the client.
Completing the graduate education in social work will allow me to accomplish more than I would with a Bachelors in Social Work. Pursuing and obtaining a master’s degree would allow me to become a Licensed Clinical social worker.  I am honestly not sure what population I would like to work with. I feel I will undergo trial and error to determine my likes and dislikes as I explore the diverse populations within the social work field. Graduating from FIU with a masters degree in social work would widen the various populations that I can work with to determine the right fit for me.
In the future I would like to incorporate public health with my social work degree, I would like to work with various communities on public health efforts to prevent public health problems in the future. I would like to be equipped to work with a community on a macro-level to organize efforts to address various issues within a community. In short, I would like to a community organizer. In addition, I would like to eventually have my own practice and use the education learned in the social work graduate program as the foundation of my practice.
    If accepted into the program I would like to concentrate in clinical practice  related and a concentration in macro community practice. I believe these concentrations will be the necessary tools that will prepare me for my future as a Social Worker.