JFS helps thousands of people a year navigate challenging life circumstances—from living with a disability or a mental health challenge to caring for an aging parent or helping feed the family. Social workers enable us to deliver our services with compassion and respect, offering people the tools they need to build healthier, more stable lives.
March is Social Work Month and we want to recognize the social workers at JFS who support individuals and families as they overcome difficult obstacles and improve their lives. Daniela, Rosemary, and Sam are just three of the many social workers at JFS who dedicate themselves to helping others.
Daniela Baumgarthuber works as a Mental Health Counselor in the Counseling & Addiction Services department.
Rosemary D’Agrosa is the Director of Supportive Living Services, which provides assistance to people with cognitive disabilities.
Sam Hellerstein is a Geriatric Care Manager in our older adult services program, which supports people aging in their homes, Holocaust survivors, and family caregivers.
We caught up with Daniela, Rosemary, and Sam and asked them to share their perspectives on the work they do every day to make a difference for the people who turn to JFS for support.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a social worker?
Daniela: What I find most rewarding about working in the social work field is serving individuals from vulnerable communities impacted by trauma and oppression. In particular, I enjoy using anti-oppression and social justice approaches rooted in the profession’s ethics and values to work with clients to reduce barriers and advocate for social change. I love helping clients feel more empowered and connected through our work together.
Rosemary: Every day I have the privilege and opportunity to contribute some goodness to my community and world. For me, this is the most rewarding aspect of being a social worker.
Sam: The most rewarding aspect of being a social worker is working with clients and getting to know them, their strengths, and their goals. I get to support them in a way that makes sense to them and help them to live in ways that give them a stronger sense of fulfillment and security.
How do JFS values influence your work?
Daniela: The JFS value of being client-centered is central to my work as a mental health counselor. This value embodies the Jewish principles of Tzelem Elokim (all people have infinite worth) and Kavod Habri’ot (honoring all people). Being client-centered means respecting the dignity and worth of each client, meeting them where they are in life, and letting them guide our work together every step of the way with open-mindedness, curiosity, and compassion. At the end of the day, my role is to help clients live their best lives possible, whatever that means to them.
Rosemary: JFS values putting clients at the center of our work and being client-centered grounds my team’s approach. Every day we listen and learn from our clients, provide support and resources, and foster as much independence and dignity of choice as possible.
Sam: Jewish Family Service’s dedication to serving clients in ways that are open and flexible gives me the freedom to provide care that is suited to their particular needs and desires. I’m able to respond to clients whether they need intensive interventions or more everyday supports.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Daniela: One of my favorite parts of being a mental health counselor (and there are many!) is seeing clients achieve their goals in our work together and celebrating the successes with them along the way, no matter how small they may seem. The therapeutic relationship is a very special one that I cherish, and I love holding space for clients to feel comfortable bringing their full selves into therapy sessions. It is an honor and privilege to be able to hear each client’s story and take part in their unique journey toward healing, growth, self-discovery, and empowerment.
Rosemary: My team! I have always worked in team environments and that’s where I thrive. I work with an incredibly smart, thoughtful, creative, funny, and dedicated group of people who go above and beyond to support each other and our clients.
Sam: My favorite part of the job is being able to listen to my client’s stories and try to give them a sense that they do not have to face the difficulties and struggles of aging alone.
JFS applauds and recognizes the hard work of each of our staff social workers and all those in the field who help people in our community every day to overcome life’s challenges.
How can you support social work and social workers this month?
- Thank all the social workers in your life (it could be your therapist, your child’s school counselor, a cousin, or a co-worker)
- Share this post to help lift up the importance of social workers in our community. #SWMonth2023 #SocialWorkBreaksBarriers #SocialWorkMonth
- Donate to JFS so we can continue to provide the dignified, compassionate care our social workers offer
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