On February 9th, the National Association of Social Workers – Virginia Chapter hosted its annual Student Advocacy Day. More than 300 students and professional social workers from all across Virginia made there prescence known in the General Assembly building by speaking with legislators about pressing issues that are important to social work.
The day was a success in large part due to the commitment of faculty in the Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social to ensure students were prepped prior to advocacy day. Voices was honored to assist in the preparation of students to speak with legislators about bills targeting the school to prison pipeline and supporting children in the child welfare system.
Many of the students spoke in support of kinship guardianship assistance and reducing school discipline days from both a personal experience in the child welfare system and as a social work professional working with children who could be directly impacted by the proposed legislation.
You can still take action by writing a letter to your Senator or Delegate in support of dismantling the school to prison pipeline.
I feel really lucky to be here, I didn’t think I would by lobbying at the General Assembly my first year in the social work program – Rebecca Decamp, VCU Student
I was inspired by how many social workers are invested in the policy process. I could see that they were all keenly aware that policies have a real and tangible impact on the quality of people’s every day lives, and that we must be active participants in the process rather than leaving such important decisions to the very few who hold positions of power. Being part Social Work Advocacy Day made me want to get more involved. – Michael Massey, VCU Student
Today helped us prepare for our roles in advocacy as a future social worker – Liz, VCU Student/UMFS Intern
I enjoyed sharing this experience with my social work peers and hope even more students participate next year – Sophia Booker, VCU Student/Voices Intern
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Today was fantastic because it gave us an understanding of the hustle and bustle that lobbyist go through and how important it is to know the ins and outs of the bill your advocating for including the opposing views – Tiffany Padden, VCU Student/Communities in Schools
It’s hard to know how individuals can get involved to get your voice heard so today was great because I learned we do have access to our representatives and they do care what we have to say – Betsy Hudson, VCU Student