Friday, August 24, 2007

Idea that's Percolating through my Brain Cells

I was talking with Ambulance Driver last night and he tolod me how to do that word thingy where you highlight a word and make that your link instead of writing out the entire flipping link in the body of your text, like cyber-lexic little me has been doing.
Later, I was telling the glorious, if somewhat hoarse, LaP about my new found knowledge. "Now I can link like you and all the other KEWL KIDS do!" I was bouncing and giggling the way I do when I get happy and excited at the same time. She laughed, ruefully, and told me, "If I'd known you didn't know how to do that, I'd have shown you how to do it a long time ago." I think she felt a little guilty [maybe]. No Worries. I am such a lost cause when it comes to computer stuff...I am always the last kid on the block to learn any new trick. I always thought that little icon was to summon the aliens who live inside the Magic Elf Box to do evil deeds. But I didn't want to unleash forces I didn't know how to control.

Anyway, back to my original topic...when AD and I were talking, the reason he told me how to do that cool one word link thingy was so that IF I start a new blog, I can use that tool for referrals.
Y'all see, AD had a scathingly brilliant idea. Of course, whenever someone suggests doing something I tend to LIKE, I think it's a good idea. I was tellin' him how much I missed Social Work. Don't Groan quite so loudly, please. Not all of y'all know the type of Social Work I practiced. I'll explain later, just bear with me, for a bit.
Anyway, I was tellin' him, how, even after I burned out, I just couldn't help myself. When a friend or the friend of a friend had a problem, I'd jump right in with suggestions of which agencies they needed to go visit to get help. If they needed assistance with working through the red tape, I told them to give me a call, I was always great with paperwork.

You see, there are a lot of things you can do with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work. If you don't really like working with people, get a PhD and become some type of Administrator. Or if you DO like people, and teaching, stay in school longer and get that PhD and teach.
But, if you like working with people, and if you got a BSW, you probably did it b/c you wanted to "help people" now you can go in several different directions.
While I was still in school, I worked in three very different settings:
  • A Halfway House for Alcoholics and Drug Addicts;
  • A County MHMR Center - in the Screening and Referral Section;
  • At Child Protective Services.

The Halfway House taught me a LOT that came in handy when I was a Parole Officer after I had my Degree since about 80% of my parolees had a drug or alcohol problem. CPS? I have the greatest respect for those folks. I could never do it, myownself. I knew I'd wind up shootin' one of those batards and that would be the end of my career and freedom.

MHMR- Screening and Referral- or as we called it "Screaming and Referral", now that was a blast! We screened callers for appointments at the various Mental Health clinics around the county based on location and severity of problem. I also got to do some Crisis Counseling there. Now that was exhilarating, fulfilling and scary all at once. And probably the task I learned the most from and about was assisting folks in composing the affidavits for Mental Health warrants if they had a family member or friend or co-worker or neighbor or whomever that was a danger to themselves or others.

Once I went out into the Real World I had a variety of uses for my BSW. That's the beauty of a Social Work degree. You have the education and knowledge and flexibility to go in so many different directions, whether you go straight to work or onto gradual school or a combination of both. I worked at a shelter for abused, neglected and runaway Teens as my first job. Not real challenging. I mainly worked an overnight shift and was there to keep the girls [on the 2nd floor] and the boys [in the basement] apart after lights out. My biggest challenges were staying awake, since I don't drink coffee and delousing a new arrival with curly, waist length hair and head lice. I still scratch my own head when I think about that and it's been 21 yrs ago.

Next, I was a Parole Officer for the State of Texas. Some of my readers who have been with me a long time remember those parolee stories I did several moths ago. If you came on board after them you might want to look for 'em in the archives. I think they were amusing, and judging from the comments, so did the readers at the time.

While I was a P.O. I started volunteering for a Community-Based Non-Profit AIDS Service Organization. I was a sort of "Tar baby". The longer I stuck around, the more things they stuck on me. I started out doing group facilitation. Then I got trained as an HIV Testing Counselor. Children, the day after Magic Johnson had his, "I have AIDS" Press Conference, we had people sittin' in each other's laps waitin' to get tested. Every Hound Dog and Hoochy Mama in the county musta realized they really WERE at risk. About the time I was burned to the proverbial crisp at parole, they got a Ryan White grant and offered me a PAID position as a Case Coordinator. That brought the total paid staff up to TWO. My duties included intake, assessment, care planning, test counseling, group facilitation, and Safer Sex Lectures in the Community. You will never know how long it took me to be able to deliver those without blushin'. NOW? I can roll a condom over my fist and halfway up my forearm in mixed company with the best of them! Of course in the Spring there were the various "fairs" when I had to staff a booth and give out free condoms and all the health fairs in a four county area to attend and do education and condom distribution. After a year, the clients' families decided they wanted some services, so I got trained in then began doing preparatory grief counseling. Oh, and the Food Bank, I almost forgot about the Food Bank we shopped for and then had the clients come to once /week. Finally, though when every man but two in the original group I had facilitated had died, I just couldn't do that anymore. SO....

I went back to State employment to a different client population this time. I did Medicaid Eligibility for Aged and Disabled Populations. I can see you shaking your head. "What?" Well, I understand, unless you've had to put Grandma in a Nursing Home or had a relative in a State School, you've never had to apply for the type of Medicaid benefits I approved.

So, now that you know what kind of Social Worker I was, I have to tell you that although I was, in all modesty, a DAHM good SoWkr and I did begin to have the feeling that I was standing on a beach and getting sucked under by the waves of human misery. And that's when I got out. I tried grad school for a while, but the first program I tried {Community Health Ed.} my Advisor told me even if I stuck it out and got my PhD, I'd wind up beating my head against a brick wall if I stayed in TX. I wanted to design programs, to be implemented in Middle Schools and High Schools that would actually PREVENT STDs, HIV, and Teen Pregnancy. The next Gradual School Program I entered was a "gender studies" program. I left after two semesters. The Head of the Department tried to muzzle me in class after I failed to toe the PC line.

ANYWAY, AD suggested...since I missed the services "brokering" part of Social Work that I start a Social Work blog. Now, in TX, you have to have a license to call yourself a Social Worker. That's because in 1986 Texas started testing newly degreed Social Workers. And from that point, you had to accrue a certain number of CEU's every year to keep your accreditation current. Now, since I worked for the State, and got so much training from them, that was no problem. But, I haven't keep my license current for the last two years, so technically, although I have a degree in SoWk and years of experience do IT, I'm can't call myself one anymore.

So, what do y'all think? Would I get much action? You think, folks would actually use a blog for advice about problems? Of course I'd not require ID for comments. And I'd set up an email account so folks feeling especially vulnerable could send in questions that way. Then I'd answer them, changing details to protect their identity if necessary. But all Questions/Problems would be answered in the blog. That way, if anyone else was having a similar problem they could read about it and take it from there.

I miss helpin' folks and this is one way I could do that, again.


Ambulance Driver said...

Well, you already know how I feel about it. I'm available to brainstorm if you decide to take the plunge, though.

phlegmfatale said...

First of all, you're not always the last to find out about things - you were hep to the site meter waaaaay before I was. Ages! :P

I think this sounds like a great idea. People are bewildered by the morass of options, and particularly in times of crisis, it can be frightening and depressing for people to try and find where to go for help. I think you could really fill a niche with this idea and help a lot of people change their lives for the better!

You can do it. You're a delight, and so smart and caring, and I believe in you!

crazy baby lainy said...

I think it's a wonderful idea. You always make me feel better when I go to you about something that's bothering me.

Grand idea indeed!

Let us know when you get started.

Hope you're feeling better.


farmgirl said...

Holly, dear lady... if you want to do it, then DO IT!

Do what makes you happy, always, as long as it fits within the boundaries of your mores and doesn't hurt anyone else. Trust me, I spent four years doing things for other people instead of myself... and then I got selfish, and came back to school.

Be happy, lady, you deserve it.

Flo said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, do you think he could figure something out for me, too? I also like to help people, I just don't want to talk to them. Oh, and I want a paying position. But I want to set my own hours. Or not. And it can't be anything that makes me think.

For real, I think AD's got a good idea there, and I know it's something you would excel at. I think you should go for it.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Sounds like a winner to me. Kinda like a call-in radio show, only in a blog. Some folks just need a nudge, others need a great deal more. Sounds like a really fulfilling means of relieving the "help others" gene. Good ideer.

Oh, and h/t to AD.

And the good news is, if (read: when) you get your next injury, you don't have to worry about calling in to work!



HollyB said...

Thank you, One and All for your responses. Looks like I'll be starting another blog.

Flo, you can be my first "customer" Just come over to the NEW blog and ask that same set of questions.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to study all the theoretical approaches to effective social work, it's quite something else to know the nature of the beast by personal experience. Since we can't all be poor or homeless or or homeless military veteran, for instance, we need to read the chronicles of those who have successfully navigated this difficult terrain. One such resource I've found and recommend is: "Down Town: True Tales of Trial and Triumph on the Mean Streets" by the NASNA 2003 Award winning author Robert E. Lipscomb of St. Louis. Read this, thank me later. Peace.