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March marks Social Work Month, a time to recognize the remarkable dedication of social workers everywhere! We extend a huge thank you to these incredible individuals for their unwavering commitment and the profound impact they have on our communities. At Inn from the Cold, we are fortunate to have many social workers on staff who support our work with families. I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Katrina, a Child and Youth Development Case Manager at The Inn, to shed light on the importance of this field.

Katrina’s role as a Child and Youth Case Manager at The Inn demands a balance of compassion and collaboration. She starts her day by checking in with families, focusing on the children and their environment. From discussing plans for the day to addressing immediate needs, Katrina ensures that families feel supported and empowered. She emphasizes the importance of cultural awareness, recognizing that each family’s background and experiences are unique. Collaboration and communication are essential as Katrina navigates the diverse needs and dynamics of every family. Whether it’s connecting families with health and wellness resources or directing them to other specialized supports at The Inn, Katrina’s approach is rooted in collaboration and empowerment.

“I love butterflies, they have always inspired me in life. One of the most important processes that they have to go through is the process of metamorphosis. In that process, they undergo a rapid and uncomfortable change to acquire beautiful wings. I have always inspired myself to look at things from this perspective because I believe that with healthy support and environments, everyone can acquire their own wings and fly,” Katrina said.

Recognizing the emotional toll of her work, she prioritizes her own well-being, ensuring that she can continue supporting others effectively.

“Self-care is an essential task for all of us, not just those in helping professions like social work. It’s about prioritizing our well-being on multiple levels — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Self-care goes beyond indulging in activities like massages, although those can be enjoyable. It’s about recognizing when we’re feeling uncomfortable and taking proactive steps to address those feelings. This means putting ourselves first when needed and ensuring we’re in a balanced state. Self-care isn’t always about being comfortable; sometimes, it’s about embracing discomfort in order to grow and thrive,” Katrina said.

The Child and Youth Development team is committed to fostering connections between children and their parents through active engagement — for example, the Huynh family, who consistently participated in programming. One of the concerns raised was related to the speech development of their daughter, Jadyn*.

The team regularly engaged with Jadyn in programming and observed significant progress over time. Jadyn’s father expressed that his happiest moment occurred when Jadyn began to speak. Through consistent engagement and interaction, Jadyn started talking, identifying shapes and numbers, and expressing basic needs in both her native language and English. Katrina noted that while it may seem like a small achievement, it was a significant milestone for the Huynh family, showcasing the transformative power of consistent support and engagement.

As we commemorate Social Work Month in 2024, let’s pay tribute to the dedication of social workers globally, who strive to foster a more just, equitable, and compassionate world. We express immense gratitude to these extraordinary individuals for their unwavering devotion and the profound influence they have on our communities!

*The name and details have been modified to preserve confidentiality.