What do you do?
I am a New York State Licensed Social Worker. The range of projects and things that I do as a social worker is large. Daily, I work at an organization called Barrier Free Living providing therapy and counseling to survivors of domestic violence who have either a physical and/or cognitive/mental disability. I also work with a professor at New York University collecting data for a study that looks at underage drinking in Puerto Rican and Dominican youth in the Bronx. I’m also writing an article with my former professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work looking at the spectrum of educational policies on the use of social media in the top 50 graduate schools of social work.
Why do you do it?
I love what I do and I’m passionate about it. The profession of social work is open and flexible, allowing me to have my hand in various types of projects, all with the focus of social justice and giving back to our community. The work that I do, especially the clinical therapy, is challenging, intriguing and at times emotionally draining. But, interacting with people from all different life experiences makes my responsibilities fascinating, exciting, new and feeds my soul.
Why should people care?
Martin Luther King Jr. has a wonderful quote that sums it all up for me: “What I’m saying is simply this: That life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be; This is the meaning of having world perspective.” The social work profession subscribes itself to social justice. The notion that we are all interconnected makes the way I treat another person so powerful. Empathy and compassion can change a person’s outlook, no matter the worst circumstances they may come from. We should never dwell in the idea that we can change a person’s entire life, but I believe that if we can be a portal of positive energy for others, the possibilities for affecting social change and justice are endless.
Jules Perkel is a New York City woman we deem “Who To Watch” now, because you will definitely see her again, at the top!
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