You know how sometimes you think you know what you want to do, but it still takes that tiny nudge to get you there, that one moment of epiphany? Well, for me, that was the first day of my “Introduction to Social Work” class, and every day since has been an affirmation that I made the right choice.
Would I have been able to find my passion anywhere else? I don’t think so. And I don’t just mean the VCU School of Social Work. I mean the city of Richmond, too, because every opportunity I’ve had to work in the community, whether through the school or on my own, wouldn’t have been possible without each of them.
As a student in high school in rural Virginia, I worked on a congressional campaign, and for a long time I thought politics would be where I made my mark. As a double major in social work and political science as an undergraduate student, and now as an advanced standing student in the M.S.W. program, I never let go of that ambition, but throughout my time in Richmond, I’ve had the opportunity to work at the Capitol with lobbyists, activists and policymakers, and I’ve realized that far too often, it’s the people who get lost in the politics.
I believe social work can put the people back in the closed-door meetings and on the legislative floor. Whether that’s through bringing a social worker’s perspective to bear as an elected official, campaign adviser or lobbyist, or through empowering people and communities to demand that their voices be heard, I believe social work can be the leading voice in that charge.
This is why I’m a social worker.
Vicki Yeroian is an advanced standing Master of Social Work student at VCU. While an undergraduate student, she was president of the Young Democrats at VCU, founded the Social Justice Alliance and received the Advancement of Women’s Scholarship from the VCU School of Business, as well as the Hatcher-Merit Scholarship, Leadership Award and Social Justice Award from the School of Social Work.
She has interned and volunteered for Organizing for America, the Podium Foundation, the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia General Assembly, Planned Parenthood, the Urban League of Greater Richmond and, most recently, Housing Opportunities Made Equal. She is currently a graduate assistant for the VCU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Director of Lobbying for the Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women and president of the Richmond NOW Chapter.