Social Work Students Perform Field Work for Day of Caring

September 30, 2013

Social work students from Mary Baldwin University had a chance to put into practice what they’ve learned from textbooks and lectures September 11 during the United Way of Greater Augusta’s Day of Caring.

day_of_caring_insideStudents from Social Work 355 traveled to the Daily Living Center in Waynesboro — a facility that provides a safe and secure environment for adults who require additional care during the day — to conduct “life history” interviews with clients.

“I wanted to build this day into my practice course for the social work students to further their involvement in the social service agencies in our community,” said Assistant Professor of Social Work Mary Clay Thomas, who also serves as president of the local United Way board of directors. “The opportunity at the Daily Living Center offered a two-fold benefit: our students would interview clients and apply their clinical and theoretical understanding of aging, and in turn, provide a written social history for each client’s permanent record at the center.”

The project helped students build skills in client confidentiality, interview techniques, intake assessments, working with diverse populations, writing case reports, building relationships with clients and within the community, being culturally competent, and applying social work principles such as strengths theory and person-in-environment theory.

Ashley Shoell ’15  interviewed a veteran who served in the U.S. Army in the 1950s (pictured at right).

“We talked about his family, his service to our country, and what some of his favorite things about life are — including the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders,” Shoell said. “I am looking forward to visiting him again in the near future.”

day_of_caring_inside1Conducting the interview, Shoell said, related to many things that she is learning as a future social worker.

“Performing interviews is an integral process for social work, as it is usually the first contact with a client and where the process of relationship building, intake, assessment, and other important functions takes place,” she said. “It was a great experience both personally and professionally. I very much enjoyed interviewing the client and I was even invited to come back and talk with him again.”

Established in 2008, the Day of Caring promotes the spirit and value of volunteerism, increases the awareness of local human service agencies and schools, and demonstrates what people working together for the community’s good can accomplish.