In honor of March being National Professional Social Worker Month, we continue our series highlighting some of the amazing Social Workers who help make Home Start’s mission of strengthening families possible.
Ebony Brown has been a Behavioral Health Therapist with Home Start for three years. She came to California from New York where she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and began her career of helping families cope with traumatic experiences.
We asked Ebony to tell us more about her role as a Social Worker and how she feels it’s impacting families and communities in San Diego.
Hi Ebony, thank you for taking this time for us. Why do you think it’s important to recognize National Professional Social Work Month?
It is important because we play an important role in society. Our role can help individuals see the importance of human relationships and increase clients’ ability to make changes.
That is so true. We’d love to hear a little more about your background and what made you decide to go into Social Work.
I was born in New York City where I was raised in poverty. I faced many traumatic experiences myself as a child and into my adult life. This inspired me to take an interest in healing families who experienced trauma. I worked in schools, group homes, foster care agencies, job placement agencies, residential facilities, family shelters, women’s shelters, mentoring the youth, and housing the homeless.
We’re so happy to have you here! Tell us about what it is you do every day.
I provide a confidential, therapeutic relationship to children and families who faced traumatic experiences. Families may have mental disorders as a result and I assist them so they can function more effectively. I also help families resolve or cope with relationship problems and developmental concerns.
And how do you see your work affecting the San Diego Community?
My work helps families see Social Workers from a positive aspect. Most families identify Social Workers as “enemies” as we are often required to break up families. I believe in educating parents and helping them look past their negative beliefs and look at Social Workers in a supportive role.
Is there something you enjoy about being a Social Worker?
My favorite thing about being a social worker is tapping into a client’s psyche and allowing them to process their experiences. This allows them to understand the imperfection of themselves and others through a different lens so they can learn how to make positive changes and thrive in society.
Is there a specific Home Start experience you’d be willing to share?
My teenage client had severe mental health concerns that allowed him to be turned away from other providers for treatment. Although this client needed a higher level of care, I decided to treat the client myself rather than leaving him untreated. The client really enjoyed therapy and completed three out of five treatment goals. I worked with the client until he reached the waitlist for the Catalyst Program which is a higher level of care service. I stopped counseling this client once he was receiving help, and although he didn’t want to terminate, he was optimistic about building a great bond with a new therapist. This experience clearly changed his view of therapy.
That’s a powerful example of how you go above and beyond. What else would you want people to know about Social Work?
Our job may look easy, but it requires a lot of patience and every case might not be successful or have great endings. It is difficult working around a broken system when you are working hard to see families thrive. People who are experiencing crises in the most vulnerable time in their lives rely on social workers to help connect them with resources and help clients find solutions to complex problems.
Before we go, tell us a little something about you, personally.
I love the arts. As a teen I majored in music where I sang in choirs. I love to dance and I did acting in New York City. I was selected to be a hair model for a Paul Mitchel hair show in Connecticut. My favorite movie is “The Blind Side.” My family is very talented – we have dancers, clothing designers, music producers, actresses, models and business owners.