National Social Work Month is officially celebrated during March. But other than giving the appreciation an official title and a month that brings the profession to the forefront, how can we really express thanks to those men and women who ensure the welfare of our families and communities, offer resources and information, and create a meaningful impact? A discussion about meaningful ways to say thank you to a social worker is imperative in honoring their work.

Because of the long hours and tough circumstances many social workers face, their turnover rate can be high. However, even in a career that can be tiresome and exhausting at times, a greater sense of appreciation can ensure that a social worker becomes more effective and feels more valued.

Social workers represent hope and change for adoptive parents, prospective birth parents, children and all kinds of families in your community. They choose to get up each day and advocate for good no matter the tough situation they went to sleep contemplating the night before. Their heart never takes a day off, but their strength can easily be diminished from repeated challenges and emotional undertakings. Encouragement for a social worker can go a long way. If you are friends with someone in a social work position, go to church with someone, play tennis with them, rely on them during your adoption journey or work across the hall, you can easily be their cheerleader and reminder of all the good they seek for those families whom they support.

Thank a social worker for their service to your community, your family, or your cause. Their job requires hard decisions, difficult tasks, and rewarding junctures. Some in this profession can even become jaded to certain situations because of repeated patterns they have seen, but they continue to cling to hope despite what seems inevitable at times. They are bringing healing and safety to families, working toward stopping cycles of brokenness and grief and offering support and great expectations.

When focusing on what a social worker contributes to the adoption community, their job is precious to all parties involved. Their job working with birth families, adoptive families, babies and children needing homes, and adoption lawyers helps to build and strengthen families and represent them well in order to successfully provide compassion for each situation.

This Social Work Month, give recognition for the advocates who work so hard for your family and community. Remind them that their work matters because their one hug, one kind phone call, or one home visit makes a huge impact. They make a difference and show compassion in the most difficult circumstances. Tough love is shown when necessary, and they help families access services and resources needed.

Write a card. Make an encouraging phone call. Take donuts to their office. Offer to have lunch or coffee with a social worker. Send that email. Extend assistance finding resources or supplies they could use when helping a family. Whatever you do in an effort to support a social worker, they will feel encouraged, and you will have contributed to their attempts at bettering families and communities because you made a difference for them.

Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.