By Grasiela Victor, Social Work Intern, Quinn Center Compañera
In social work, we are warned about developing dual relationships with our clients and are encouraged to maintain strong boundaries. This has been something that I continue to work on and remind myself of in every client interaction. Based on the population we serve, the clients I’ve worked with have shared a lot of similarities to my parents and family members. Hearing about their lives and some of the challenges they’ve faced reminded me of my personal life.
One client in particular has been the greatest reminder of my father. They share a similar age, culture, lifestyle, and almost the same name. Throughout my time at Taller de José, I’ve grown to know him better and have learned a lot about his life. In passing, he has always greeted me and stops to ask about my day and how I’m feeling. He offers me granola bars, fruit snacks, and water bottles when he walks past my office. He has really become someone I look forward to getting to see and hear from. In our work together, I have been able to connect him with resources, assist with digital literacy, and help him in filling out different applications. He has expressed to me how grateful he is for our help and for the services we offer as an agency. He shared with me that he has only survived this long because of people like myself and several other social workers that have helped him and his children along the way.
As I’ve been challenged this semester with completing my internship, classes, and working part-time, I keep his words in mind. He’s encouraged me to keep going and pursuing my Master of Social Work. He’s shown me how much of an impact social workers have on people’s lives and how even when it feels like we are doing something small, we are creating more change than we can see. I am certain that the experiences I’ve had with my clients at Taller de José will keep me motivated as I finish my degree and help me get through the tough days I’ll have in my future career as a social worker.