A week ago I heard John Tesh say that the people who are most satisfied with their jobs are social workers and addiction counselors, and I could not agree more. Social workers enhance peoples’ lives daily by reassuring them physical and psychological support. While one works on giving the gift of a child to a loving, responsible home, another will provide a listening ear to a father of two struggling with a methamphetamine addiction.
Emily Myers, Director of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, is an award winning social worker, addiction counselor and professor at Auburn University. Myers, who was the 2008 winner of the State of Alabama Social Worker of the Year Award, strives to enrich the lives of Auburn students and the community through social learning.
Myers has all students in this school complete two supervised, social learning opportunities during their time at Auburn. Students can choose to work with victims of drug and alcohol addiction at His Place in Opelika, Ala. or even work on campus at the newly established Women’s Resource Center.
Previous social work students, along with students of Auburn’s School of Architecture, have built homes for Hurricane Katrina victims and a number of homeless, HIV positive individuals in the Lee County area.
These experiences are not only good for the students’ resumes, but Myers said by the end of their school career the students can also recognize their core values and strengths. “What is amazing to me is that the students enjoy helping people, which in turn helps them,” Myers said.
This November sociology students will be holding the 6th Annual Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s to benefit the families of victims of the brain disease. “Students will find vendors to donate food and prizes for a silent auction, and they will essentially put the event together. Donors will pay to walk and all the donations will go to research and to the families of Alzheimer’s patients,” Myers said.
Another service learning project students can choose to work on is “Think Pink,” which is a benefit for breast cancer patients and survivors. Also this fall social work students will be doing needs assessments to see if Auburn should provide daycare services to students and staff.
“In a recent study of citizens who live in rural Mississippi, social workers were believed to be people who broke up families. Social workers bring families together through adoptions, helping families cope with deaths and debilitating addictions. These students are improving the quality of life for other people in the community and all over the world,” Myers said.