Profiles in Social Work

It has long been my argument that social workers are perfect fodder for sit-com or reality series. We see all the crazy drama generated by others, meanwhile we are equally human with our own issues and often turn to each other for help (or at least I get many requests to assist my coworkers)

In my experience at a Community center, a senior center, working with the homeless in Los Angeles , and an LA welfare site, I have run across the mundane and some outstanding individuals. there is no “typical” social worker, and  usually these are some entertaining folk colored by what they face professionally and privately.

  1. 18 year old champion swimmer comes to California on a swim scholarship. Gets drunk and pregnant her first week of school. Stays in LA and raises the baby, meets and falls in love with a hard core gangster and has a second child with him. While in Los Angeles she learns Spanish, amazing her neighbors from her predominately Spanish hometown in Texas.
  2. 400 pound African American weekend dominatrix who makes more in her weekend sessions than during her day job, but hey, she needs a cover and explanation for her income since she is a single mom.
  3. 18 year old honor student receives her first acceptance letter to college and parties with her boyfriend to celebrate. Right after the first tuition payment is made by her parents, the student and her boyfriend announce wedding plans because they are expecting a child. This student graduated at the top of her class, had a second child and now works in the criminal justice system.
  4. Former nun leaves the order, comes out of the closet and falls in love with a beautiful and idealistic woman who has dedicated her life to housing mentally ill homeless people. Together this couple creates two renowned homeless service agencies that compassionately deal with human failings.
  5. Insurance broker on the downslope of middle age is fired from his firm just as it declares bankruptcy. He goes on many interviews and eventually lands a social work job paying less than half his previous wage. He compensates by driving a motorcycle to work.
  6. Fresh from college, a petite Pacific Islander premed student takes a one year hiatus from school to work and save money. Working with families in poverty inspires her to return to school and work as a visiting doctor in third world countries … she is most notable for reading medical texts at her desk while listening to hard core RAP.
  7. Housewife in her late 40’s enters the workforce for the first time because her daughter is in junior highschool and she has free time and wants to supplement her income. Coming face to face with poverty is culture shock she takes in stride, immediately gearing her daughter’s scout troop to do community service for the population.
  8. Lots and lots of freshly graduated college students who immediately see their paycheck and return to gradschool, because $14 an hour, you are kidding, right?!?
  9. Marine wife seeks second income while husband is deployed to help her raise her two teen daughters – both of whom are gifted and in special programs for the arts.
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