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Celebrating Social Workers

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Mrs. Unique Murphy is the social worker at Wheeling Park High School

March is Social Worker Awareness month where we celebrate the incredible social workers who make our school and community a better place. Park is proud to celebrate Ms. Unique Murphy, our very own Communities in Schools social worker. Mrs. Murphy became a social worker because of her own life experiences.

”When I was younger, probably middle school to high school, I had a really rough home life. I never had a staff member at school. I was in school everyday, and I never had an appearance of someone who had a traumatic home situation going on, so nobody ever asked me, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Hey, do you need anything?’, and that was very hard for me. I didn’t have food at home, and didn’t really have adults at home. I was home alone a lot, and I was taking care of things, so when I got to high school and was getting ready for college, I chose the one that would put me in a position to help kids that are growing up just like me or just like I did that didn’t have anything at home and needs support and also most importantly to help the kids that dont look like their parent is an addict or that there parent is not around,” said Murphy.

Mrs. Murphy knows that there is more to a student’s needs than meets the eye.

“People associate a physical appearance with a work ethic or how people are doing mentally, and that’s not the case. I was a funny kid. I did sports, I had great grades, I looked appropriately, I always had new clothing. People didn’t know that I was buying my own clothes, working 2 jobs, and being in high school at the same time. So, that’s why I became a social worker. I just want to help kids who were just like me,” said Ms. Murphy.

Just because social work is fulfilling as a career doesn’t mean it is in any way an easy job.

“It’s usually really rewarding, but sometimes it really sucks. We are under appreciated because people don’t recognize the value of a social worker, and I think that’s because it’s the lack of understanding. People don’t know what social workers do or how they benefit like the world so they are over looked,” said Ms. Murphy.

The job of a social worker is different every day.

“Typically, I have a plan of how the day is gonna go, and I will assign what kids I need to see. It usually gets messed up because someone comes in with an additional need, or somebody comes in crying, or there’s some situation. So, realistically, I come in, I sit down, and I make a plan of how the day goes and pray to God it turns out that way. Usually I try to make sure I at least meet with most of my kids. That looks like checking their grades, making sure their attendance is good, and fulfilling any students that I have that are mental health based,” said Ms. Murphy.

Mrs. Murphy sees students who are the most in need of help. She may have to deal with tough situations like abuse or neglect. Social workers see and deal with really difficult situations.

“When a student is being abused, I can’t just walk out and tell the whole world about it. That’s something I have to help the kid with. I have to connect them with sources outside of school. Or, I use school counselor, school nurse even more often than normal.I have to use the police and that’s really hard because I have built relations with some kids who only trust me with that information and the only way to get them help or get the justice is if I can get them to also tell another larger big time person umm like the police for example so there are always hard parts of social work that is legally can not tell other people about,” said Mrs. Murphy.

Park is so grateful to have our very own social worker looking out for students and making our building a safer space.

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