March is National Social Work month, and for us at Hope For The Warriors® it’s a month worth celebrating! We work day in and day out to assist the lives of our brave men and women and their families, and most importantly to reignite and restore hope in their time of recovery.
Not only is social work an integral part of assisting our service members and their families, but we also have the distinct privilege of supporting many on their path to becoming professional social workers.  As part of our full cycle of care for wounded service members, the organization manages a Spouse/Caregiver Scholarship program.  Among scholarship applicants, more have enrolled in social work programs than any other field of study. These resilient spouses want to take the support they received and use it to help families in the similar situations; a theme echoed in almost every essay written.
A two-time scholarship recipient shared:

“Over the past twenty months, the amount of support that we have received from various agencies has been abundant.  I can’t think of anything else I would rather dedicate my professional life to than to emulate their support for other wounded service members.  Completing a social work program will give me the skills and resources to help our veterans and their families.”

This year, the National Association of Social Workers 2012, National Hope conference echoes our own mission: restoring hope and the power of social work. As future social work professionals, they will have opportunities to attend such conferences, network with future professionals and receive more in depth guidance on how to work with military and veteran populations.  In particular, Hope For The Warriors® has partnered and will continue to partner with organizations such as the Woodruff Foundation and programs such as the Family Reintegration Program at Holliswood Hospital in New York, who also have a common focus and dedication to our service members.
Tina Atherall, Hope For The Warriors® Executive Vice President and licensed Social Worker:

“Social Workers are critical professionals in the growing need for services of those that serve. In line with the NASW 2012 National Conference theme, ‘Restoring Hope’, Social Workers embrace a variety of skills to approach the entire system and complexity of supporting the military service member, their family and integrating the community in their care.”

As Hope For The Warriors® grows, opportunities for interns to develop social work skills allow for a glimpse into what it is like to work in an up-and-coming area of care.
I am lucky enough to have been the recipient of an internship position at the Hope For The Warriors® office in Jacksonville, NC during the summer of 2011. The experience seasoned me professionally and broadened my understanding of service members, their trials and above all has bolstered my desire to pursue a Masters in Social Work. The ideals of social work are mirrored in the mission of this organization, and I look forward to continue working with and learning from them.
Additionally, new internship opportunities are being added to our organization and include the opportunity to have direct clinical practice as well as practice with administrative tasks that are common in the profession.
If you’re interested in the field of social work, please visit the sources listed below: