March is National Social Work Month. Hope Network recognizes and celebrates the significant contributions of our social workers to the communities we serve. Learn more about how Annelise and her social work background help people living with developmental disabilities.
Annelise, LLBSW, Program Assistant – Developmental & Community Services, Grand Rapids
THE TIME RIGHT FOR SOCIAL WORK. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
There’s never not a time for social work -there are always people that need services, therefore there needs to be people to coordinate those services. Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty. A lot of people have mental health needs or after effects of the pandemic, and social workers can help with all these things.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN SOCIAL WORK?
My sister is a social worker, so that’s part of it, I got to learn from her. I enjoy being with people and I enjoy helping people, so that’s what drew me to social work. I wasn’t decided when I went to college, and looked at several different career fields and kept being drawn back to social work.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN SOCIAL WORK?
You have to have some type of calling or draw to this work, and know that you can draw your satisfaction from helping others.
AFTER ALMOST 33 YEARS AT HOPE, WHAT HAS YOUR JOURNEY LOOKED LIKE?
I started at a residential home when I was still a student, I worked one night a week and weekends. It was the perfect job for a student. When I graduated, I became a home manager for a different residence. After that, they were looking to open a new home and asked if I was interested in helping, and I accepted. When I left that role, I became a Supports Coordinator. After 11 years, I was ready for a career change and a less demanding job. I had never worked in a non-residential setting and wanted to see if I would like it.
COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT JOB DUTIES AND THE POPULATION YOU SUPPORT?
The work at a life skills program, and we assist individuals with developmental disabilities. Before COVID, we would have about 100 people a day come, now it’s more like 50. As the Program Assistant, I have held a variety of roles. I do quite a bit of office type work – plans, consent forms, annual reviews with the staff, and writing. A lot of what I do is working with the attendees, and being a part of the individual point of service meetings, where we create goals for a person to work on in the program.
WHAT WAS YOUR EDUCATION/ LICENSING PATH?
I was a part of the first graduating BSW (Bachelor’s in Social Work) class at Calvin University.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST FULFILLING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION?
Oh that’s easy, it’s working with people, helping people, and making someone’s day. It goes both ways, they make my day every day too.