March is Social Worker Appreciation month so it’s fitting that I take a moment to explain one of our core Values. We value social workers. That’s the long and short of it. When we began this little nonprofit adventure over five years ago, we knew that honoring the difficult work that social workers do would be an integral part of our mission. Social workers are often villainized in movies and media, which has helped shape an unfortunate caricature of the people our government has entrusted with the health and safety of our most vulnerable children.
However, as a former foster parent of nine years, I have to say that some of those caricatures aren’t too far removed from reality. I tread lightly here. There exists a tension that we must hold with honesty and tenderness. As foster parents and community members we feel we must fight for the rights of children who have little to no legal voice, but must we also support those hired to provide services to the parents who hurt them? It seems unlikely. At times it feels impossible.
Never one to back down from a good challenge, we are committed to erasing the lines that have been drawn by history. This is why we’ve made social workers one our core values at OMD. During our formation we learned that friendship can happen in spite of religious lines, racial divides, language barriers or age gaps. If we’re not all on the same team, then we’re doing our children a disservice. Mountains will move when we all pull together.
No more lines in the sand. Taking sides is a thing of the past. We are for each other, and we are for our children.
And so we can say, in all honesty, that we do appreciate our social workers. We recognize that they have an incredibly difficult job, full of impossible decisions where nobody wins — bogged down with bureaucracy and a crippling work load. We can’t fix that, we know. The one thing we can do is the one thing we’ve been tasked with: provide childcare so that social workers can focus on their work. We can change a diaper so they can petition a judge. We can do a puzzle so they can call on distant relatives. We can give a child dignity and comfort while social workers give their statement to police. It’s really the least we can do.
But what if it’s not enough?
Maybe you can’t volunteer as much as you’d like, but you still want to be a part of the important work that we do. Be a part of this simple yet revolutionary solution by faithfully giving each month. Our Pinky Promise Society supports the critical infrastructure that makes Office Moms & Dads work. The general fund – supported by Pinky Promise members – provides all necessary supplies, equipment, training, mileage reimbursement, and the on-site essentials our volunteers need to ensure children are well taken care of. It also includes a streamlined staff that provides the scaffolding to a hierarchy of volunteer-based leadership throughout 22 sites in Washington and Idaho.
It’s important you know where your money is going when you entrust it to us. It’s also important that you know the values of the organization you’re entrusting it to.
We value children. We value communities collaborating on their behalf. We value awareness about foster care. We think that minimizing trauma is key, and so aim to meet the immediate needs of the vulnerable children we serve. We believe in relationships, and seek to steward those through purposeful transparency with our volunteers, social workers, partners and donors.
We value social workers, we value foster parents, we value you. Your time and treasures are key to carrying out this mission.