“Behind every strong, smart woman, there’s an inspiring character who helped motivate her to be herself and be heard “- Anonymous
I have a younger photo of myself on my desk that reminds me where I came from and how the hell I got here. Today I looked at it, had a good laugh, and thought fuck there has to be some inspiring social worker out there who read yesterdays post and now wondering “How do I get on a steering committee?” I advise you to start with looking at boards at your university, local hospitals, and community centers; then write one powerful, open, professional letter showcasing your skill set and your future plans. Here is a transcript and my cover letter , in the spirit of Year of Yes and showing you how I got here this would be one of many beautiful pit stops on my journey to becoming a clinical social worker.
Universities Email: Hi — If any of you are working with homeless youth, a new medical respite project is looking for a current or formerly homeless youth (18-24 years old) to serve on an advisory board. There is a small monthly stipend associated with the position. As you can see below, no applicant have yet come forward, so the position will be open until filled. Thanks, everyone!
My Reply: My name is _; I am a first year MSW student as the school of social work. I just received your email. I am a youth advocate and have spent several months working with homeless youth as it is my passion as I was once a homeless youth and understand their situation. Nevertheless, I am _ and do not fit your age requirements (if I did I would totally apply to serve on an advisory board) however, you may try posting fliers about this position at places like _and _ as I know some of these youths are passionate about making a change and setting the record straight on how they have become homeless.
Universities Email : Thank you so much for your thoughts about this. Some of the other members of the group are working with _, and I just heard that there may be a young person interested in participating. Would you mind if I forwarded your email in case the person doesn’t work out? Even though the group had a certain age range in mind, they are also mindful of how difficult it is for young homeless people to participate in these kinds of more bureaucratic activities. In the end, they may need to call on people who understand the circumstances, but are a little more “on their feet,” so to speak.
My Reply: : Yes, please forward on my email and I have also attached my cover letter:
My name is _, and I am interested in applying for the _Youth/Young Adult Advisory Board Member position. I am a _ graduate of _ , and a first year Master of Social Work (MSW) student at the _. I have always had an interest in helping underprivileged, at-risk, and homeless youth beat the odds. I myself come from an economically disadvantaged and underprivileged background. At the age of six my mother abandoned me, my father was never in my life, and my grandmother had her own issues. This resulted in me living independently for several months. Naturally, that affected every aspect of my life, leaving me to take major steps to get over my own life’s hardships. I decided at the age of sixteen, I would devote my life helping other young people through trauma in their lives.
I choose to use my life’s experiences as a catalyst to help others. Over the past eleven years I have always found time to work or volunteer in the area of my life’s mission. As you will see on my resume, my educational background and volunteer experiences have added to my overall knowledge in the social services area.
As a social-worker in training, I am working to be the professional that has a strong desire to change policies; and the lifestyles of underprivileged, at-risk, and homeless youth. It is clear these youth require a much more sophisticated set of life skills. The complex and multi-layered problems disadvantaged youth face cannot be dealt with by primary intervention. At a higher level I understand that they need a support network of qualified and dedicated professionals to help them obtain some of those life skills. This position would be a door of opportunity, allowing me to gain valuable insights from professionals who are the best in their fields. It would also allow me to lend my voice and knowledge to agency and a population of youth who are often overlooked, if not forgotten. The program would permit me to participate on a broader plain of community and social understanding and to gain necessary, vital experiences.
This is where I feel my unique strengths and talents can be further fostered– by contributing and learning how to more positively impact the lives of at-risk youth and effectively make recommendations as to where there could be enhanced agency accountability and effectiveness regarding poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancy, child abuse, violence, and substance abuse; issues that are so common among the nation’s youth. I believe the experience I would receive working in the _ Youth/Young Adult Advisory Board would help me gain the tools and experiences to further foster my skills as a social worker. I will need to make my goal a reality.
Thank you for your consideration.