With the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown continuing to bring uncertainty to our lives, we can be sure that there will be more disadvantaged and distressed people requiring social service support.
For Methodist Welfare Services (MWS), the social concerns arm of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), this means an even more critical need to equip and strengthen our team professionally so as to serve the growing numbers of people in need.
One important employee group in MWS is that of social workers. They are essential to lifting vulnerable families, youths and seniors out of various types of poverty through their work on the ground.
A Meaningful Career
Ms Jamie Dela Cruz is a prime example of an individual who has stepped up to this task.
Sparked by youth volunteer work she had done during her polytechnic days, Jamie discovered what she wanted to do in life while working as an accounting intern.
“To me, a meaningful career is about working with people and building relationships. I could not imagine myself building deeper relationships in the finance industry! This spurred me to join the social service sector.
“I like that MWS highly believes in trauma-informed practices and has put in place support for new workers,” recalled the 25-year-old, who joined the organisation as a Social Worker in February 2020.
Today, as an advocate for clients at MWS Family Services Centre – Yishun (MWS FSC – Yishun), she empowers them through co-constructing solutions and helps them overcome challenges.
“I work with individuals and multi-stressed families. Some of the issues I’ve helped these families address include financial difficulties, family conflicts, abuse or violence, emotional issues with self-harm or suicide risks, as well as parent-child management and interpersonal issues.
“A typical day includes meeting clients to conduct casework and counselling, adhering to documentation requirements, doing risk assessments and safety planning, and partnering stakeholders in the community,” elaborated Jamie.
She is grateful for the supportive environment of training and supervision in MWS that allows her to thrive in her job.
“At MWS, it is very important that we be equipped to meet competency standards. So we get sent for training in areas that are seeing growing concerns, such as how to better address family violence. I also attended induction training for six months, which helped me to understand my role in the FSC, learn how to use various tools to aid in our assessments, and focus on the importance of self-care. These have helped me to be more competent and be able to manage the complexities of cases we handle,” explained Jamie.
A Fulfilling Experience
Jamie finds the work fulfilling in many ways, especially in being able to bring about positive outcomes in her clients and grow as a result.
“After a session, a client spoke about seeing a shift in her life through the course of our working relationship. When I pointed out how important she was as an individual, she cried and thanked me as nobody had ever affirmed her existence before. I was encouraged by the impact I had made in her life and it reminded me of why I chose social work—to build and utilise our therapeutic relationships as a vehicle of change. These experiences have become my practice wisdom and have helped me grow as an individual,” she recounted.
More importantly, Jamie’s experiences have opened her eyes to the critical role social service plays in society.
“Our role is to help needy individuals and families cope with various challenges in their lives and link them to appropriate community resources. I’m thankful that my work contributes to building stable and resilient families in Singapore,” she concluded.
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photo courtesy of MWS