Maine State Rep. Lori Gramlich shows how social workers drive change.

“Did you know social workers are the largest group of mental health service providers in the United States? Or that they are the largest employer for the Veterans Administration? Social workers are everywhere in our society. They’re in schools, clinics and hospitals, and the field is expanding every day as the need for these professionals continues to grow.

The primary mission of social workers is to enhance human well-being and help all people meet their basic needs. These professionals keep a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty. But social workers do not restrict their service to individuals; they also drive change for entire communities.”

These are the opening paragraphs of Maine State Representative Lori Gramlich’s Editorial:

Past, present and future: Social workers drive change

This editorial was published in the Saco-Biddeford-OOB Courier.  Gramlich highlights historical figures in social work and the impact they’ve had.  She shares how in honor of Social Work month, she helped arrange a visit in which students and other social workers came to Augusta where they could learn more about the legislative process.

“The service of social workers is needed now more than ever before as Maine and the nation grapple with some of the most difficult issues of our time. From income inequality to the opioid crisis to the continued struggle for civil rights, to issues that impact our environment and more, social workers can bring a thoughtful eye and impactful hand to these discussions. To that end, I have a series of bills presented that will be heard during this legislative session, some of which address environmental issues that face us and others of which are directly related to address issues relative to social work.” She writes in the Courier.

It is exactly this line of thinking that inspired the Joint Resolution passed by the 2019 Maine State Legislature honoring Social Work Month.  April 1st 2019,  University of New England School of Social Work Alumni and Maine State Representative Lori Gramlich presented to School of Social Work faculty a Joint Resolution passed by the 2019 Maine State Legislature honoring  Social Work Month, and specifically named the UNE School of Social Work.  In attendance were Shelley Cohen Konrad, Director of the School of Social Work, Cyndi Amato, BSW Program Director, and faculty Amy Coha, Valerie Jones, Frank Brooks, and Lori Power.

This resolution acknowledges demonstrated leadership of Maine’s social workers pursuit of social justice, advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged populations, efforts to address persistent social problems that plague the State of Maine, and advocacy for the rights of LGBTQ people, care for older adults, community support for veterans and their families, and the improvement of mental health care services.  The resolution was passed in the House of Representatives and signed by Speaker of the House Sara Gideon; and passed in the Senate and signed by President of the Senate Troy Jackson.   The resolution was sponsored by Representative Lori K. Gramlich and cosponsored by UNE School of  Social Work Alumna Representatives Michael Brennan and Charlotte Warren; as well as Senators Troy Jackson, Susan Deschambault, Catherine Breen, Shenna Bellows and Representatives Sara Gideon, Colleen Madigan, Joyce McCreight.