By Natalie Szot
Hello! My name is Natalie, and I am social resource coordinator for Waco Connect, a pilot program. I have only been a social worker for five months after graduating in May 2021 from Baylor University with my Master of Social Work.
I help connect community members to social resources that support their overall health. These individuals are referred to me if they have had multiple visits to a hospital emergency department, have a high cost on their health insurance plan, went to the hospital for something potentially avoidable, or have an anxiety or depressive diagnosis.
When asked to write for the newsletter, a potential prompt was, “How has this job impacted me?”
Every profession impacts you to some extent. Being a social worker affects me more than I realize day to day. It is easy to come to work and go about my job tasks as "tasks," things to get done. However, there is so much more to it than just that. I am talking to a person who lives in the same city and has the same needs and desires of all of us. Things like having stable housing, providing food and clothing for family, working at a job that provides financial stability, and having access to equitable and affordable healthcare.
My job is to help these individuals work towards and meet their goals — to help them pay their rent, obtain food for their family, and get the healthcare treatment they need. That is the fulfilling part of my job, and it is rewarding to hear clients express their happiness and gratitude when their goals are met. The sigh of relief they have is honestly indescribable.
The days can seem to run together when I am working with so many people. At the end of the day, each person I talk to is different. I can refer five people to a local food pantry in one day, and that seems like no big deal to me in the moment. However, that is now five different families who have food for their children.
As any fellow social worker knows, the job isn’t as easy as it may sound. Those happy feelings normally come after the difficult ones. They come after supporting clients through long applications, being on the waitlist, getting an eviction notice, being told they aren’t eligible for a program, the list goes on.
The first time I call a client and they put their trust in me, a stranger who says she will help them, is something I don’t consider easy for them to do. For them to have to share their situation with someone, and probably not for the first time, is something I don’t take for granted.
So how has my job impacted me? Well, it impacts me every day.
It makes me grateful for the position I am in to get to support and advocate for people.
It makes me frustrated by the complex system we live in that has so many barriers for individuals to meet their basic needs.
It encourages me to see my clients utilize their resilience to navigate the system.
It validates how a little support can be so impactful and how we are better off when we work together.
It reassures me that I chose the right profession and, in my personal opinion, the best one!
Natalie Szot is social resource coordinator for Waco Connect, a Prosper Waco effort.