Edward J. Meredith
Edward J. Meredith
by Edward J. Meredith
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to disclose my story and share my views about the subject of social work. For starters, if I received a dollar for every time someone asked me, “What is social work?” I would immediately call Bill Gates and ask for a welcoming party to the billionaire club. Also, however, if I received a dollar for every time I have had much difficulty answering that question, I would still remain a billionaire. Moral of the metaphor, social work is such a complex field and I can hereby guarantee you that every social worker has a different definition for what the term social work means. With that being said, allow me to put the term into perspective for you via some heartwarming experiences I have encountered.
One day, in 2014, I was walking down Lawrence Ave. on my way to school. I vividly remember listening to the sweet and sentimental tunes of Lauryn Hill through my headphones on what was such a gloomy day. As the city was getting ready for a bit of precipitation, from a distance, I saw this man. This man had nothing but a coffee cup with a few coins in it and a sign that stated, “Anything” - implying whatever other pedestrians could drop in the cup, he would greatly appreciate. I approached the man with coins in my hand, ready to deposit them into the cup. However, before I deposited the two quarters, one dime, and three nickels into the cup, I took him to the local bakery and purchased two bagels for the gentleman. After, I provided him with specific food pantries and emergency shelters that are around the area for him to utilize. As we parted ways, he ended our linkage with, “Thanks, man, you’re going to help tons of people the rest of your way.” You know that phenomenal feeling I received? That’s what social work is.
Later on that day, after school was let out for the day, I had linked up with a friend to grab a bite to eat before we headed out to play some basketball. We entered a Burger King, and while we were waiting for our food, we met a DePaul student who was a psychology major. He then asked me, “What’s your major at Northeastern?” My simple response, “Social work.” Immediately after I responded, his eyes widened, and he stated, “Oh, wow. Thank you for everything you do.” You know that remarkable feeling I received? That’s what social work is.
I guess now, after composing this piece of intricate art, I possess an answer for what the term, “Social Work,” is. Social work is the passion you receive after assisting others. The advocacy you go through to assess clients’ rights. The empowerment you facilitate to promote patients’ strengths. The activism you take part in to seek positive change on macro, mezzo, and micro levels. Thus, social work is everything. The cause, the cure, and the remedy. What’s your story?
Edward Joseph Meredith received his bachelor’s degree in social work at Northeastern Illinois University and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in social work at Loyola University of Chicago with a specialization in Children & Families.