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Diversity Equality Inclusion - March 17, 2023

It’s Never Too Late to Pursue Your Passion

by GHBC Assisted Living Social Worker
Mindy Snyder, MSW, CDP, CMDCP

We would not be celebrating Social Work Month without trailblazers like Jane Addams. Jane created Hull House in 1889, a Chicago center that provided social services that included legal aid, an employment office, childcare and training in crafting and domestic skills. She was also the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Jan persevered despite being plagued by health issues to break barriers involving social justice.

When I quit my job of 13 years and went back to school to earn my Master of Social Work degree, I did not imagine how challenging and rewarding the journey would be. It had been thirty years since I earned my undergrad degree from GMU, and the thought of returning to the academic world was daunting. The life experience I gained gave me confidence, which helped me pursue my dream of earning my MSW, but it was not always an easy road. I was faced with life challenges right from the start.

My brother died unexpectedly during my first semester. It was the day before voting day in November 2020. I was literally writing a paper when I was notified. My professors were all extremely supportive, and I finished the semester while supporting my niece and helping her through that difficult time. Although life has a way of throwing you curveballs, you either hit them out of the park or watch whiz by you. I was thrown two. The day after turning in my last paper, and only a month after my brother died, my husband had a heart attack and needed quadruple bypass surgery. He also had complications that caused a few readmissions, but I am happy to say he is fully recovered. All I had endured throughout this journey made it that much sweeter to graduate and earn my master’s degree.

I could have easily taken a break from the program or quit altogether. No one would have blamed me. I am not going to lie. The thought did cross my mind. I also thought, ‘what am I doing going back to school at my age?’ I was in my early 50s and could have easily coasted to retirement in my job at the time. The only problem was that I was not fulfilled in my work and felt life is too short not to make a change. I was blessed to have enough confidence in myself that I would succeed, and I resisted the thought that someone my age could not start a new career. Anything worth doing is worth fighting for, and I am glad I stayed in the fight. I was blessed to have my friends and family rooting for me. One friend even called me her hero! I decorated my graduation cap with the phrase, ‘It is never too late for a new beginning.’ Achieving this new beginning as a social worker has made me a stronger, better person.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023, there are about 708,000 social workers in the United States. By 2031, the profession is expected to grow to more than 770,000. One of the oldest Social Workers, at 103, is Hortense King McClinton — another example of perseverance and blazed a trail for others to follow. For generations, social workers have broken barriers to help people live better lives, and they continue to break barriers by empowering people in difficult circumstances. I am proud to call myself a social worker here at Goodwin Living and to celebrate them, past and present.

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Goodwin Living DEI Committee: Statement of Purpose: Educate, Embrace, and Empower team members, residents, members* and all served by Goodwin Living to support Diversity, Equality and Inclusion.

Goodwin Living DEI Committee Desired Outcome: The Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Committee (DEI) will seek open and honest communication and collaboration that will inform and celebrate the age, culture, ethnicity and sexual orientation of team members, residents, members* and all served by Goodwin Living without bias. *Members include Priority Club members and Goodwin Living At Home.

Questions or comments? Please contact us DEI@GoodwinLiving.org.

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