Still under construction but I am writing my personal statement for several MSW programs. I am very doubtful of this essay and believe its too long. I need you guys to judge harshly so I can make it more concise. I'll accept all kinds of constructive criticisms. Thank You for your time.
I vividly remember parading into the hospital I had imagined was the cause of Ms. Noriega's desperation. At this time in her life, the mother was placed on a pedestal of shame by Child Protective Services (CPS) of New York for causing her daughter Stephanie underweight issues, malnourishment and dehydration. Stephanie was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy during her toddler years and had spent most of her life wheelchair bound, and feeding through a gastronomy tube. Ms. Noriega plunged into major depression but her concerns went beyond the daughter's hospitalization and disabilities. On previous days the mother sat in my office reflecting on the past, confronting her present, and worrying about the uncertainty ahead. At age 32, the mother was an undocumented immigrant, was at risk of becoming homeless, and supported her six children with Stephanie's monthly disability check. It was heartbreaking to hear the mother's voice tremble as she worried advocating for herself and her daughter would push her daughter into foster care or lead to her own deportation to Mexico. As she vented, I could not help but to know my client was deemed a nuisance by medical professionals because she barely spoke English. It was even more infuriating to ponder that the child's medical treatment remained opaque to Ms. Noriega's understanding. In retrospect, I could not blame Ms. Noriega for the mistrust she felt over her daughter's care. In the absence of her CPS worker, Ms. Noriega made me realize she had no choice but to turn to other entities to voice her concerns. Above all these worries, I felt determined to echo her struggles and help my client defeat all impediments to return her daughter home.
That day I felt a nervous wreck but felt compelled to be a voice for Ms. Noriega. In the midst of conversation we uncovered the child's treatment. It was my desire to make each medical staff member understand that arranging free transportation and home care training eased the mother's emotional state. Acquiring preventive services was a small but powerful achievement and a step to returning her daughter home. Demonstrating my client's situation broke all cultural barriers and showed me that working together can "move mountains" to make a positive difference in people's lives. Still a novice in the field, I felt I had won an extremely difficult fight. This particular moment anchored my passion to advocate for culturally diverse families and children in different dimensions of their lives. For me the best way to accomplish this task is through a Master's in Social Work.
Witnessing Ms. Noriega's anguish surfaced melancholic memories of the days my mother was a paycheck away from receiving an eviction notice at our door step. As a single immigrant mother from the Dominican Republic, I was aware that she arose each morning at five to assume demeaning roles that paid her close to minimum wage as a result of her poor English skills and limited education. When times became financially unbearable, I absorbed my mother's frustration to make ends meet and lack of emotional support system from family and friends. Often times I missed school to place myself at the frontline of translating our family's situation to public assistance workers, some who were apprehensive to listen, and others whom felt sympathetic. From living briefly living in a shelter, to receiving food stamps, social services eventually played a pivotal role in my life. These experiences led me to mature quickly and sensitized me to the problems and injustices which so many individuals suffer. Because of my family's struggles, I developed a deep personal concern for the disparities and discrimination amongst underprivileged families especially within Latino communities. Like other Hispanic families I have come to value the courage embodied in my mother to improve my life by starting from scratch in a new land, getting day to day jobs, and working incredibly hard to achieve a reasonable standard of living. More importantly, my childhood unleashed a desire to dedicate a part of my life to serving impoverished neighborhoods and assisting populations that I once was a part of.
By the time I finished college, I knew I wanted to place myself in a professional environment in which I could continue making a positive difference people's lives and work towards improving communities at large. Upon returning home from my undergraduate studies, I became attracted to the idea of preventing child abuse and neglect, keeping families together, and providing a safe haven for children in the heart of the South Bronx. At Prospect Family Support Center (PFSC), I was able to accomplish just that. In crucial times, I was involved in supporting, educating and advocating for women of disadvantaged backgrounds in their journeys through motherhood. Everyday I worked closely with poverty-stricken families whom were stressed over their rent-arrears, and having their lights cut off. In addition I pushed to help an underpoverished neighborhood break its cycle of foster care placement. Together with a dedicated team, I recieved much gratitude from families in crisis by providing temporary respite care for children while parents seek stability in their lives. At the center, I became part of every child's early development by implementing ways to improve communication and parenting styles with their children. In the process, I exploited the full range of my innate abilities as well as developed new skills in order to work through the most difficult challenges I had ever faced. As a Family Support Coordinator I wore myriad of hats whether it was as a mentor, a mediator, or a leader within a chaotic environment. While understanding the people I serve I always strive to maintain a calming energy without deviating from the main goal which is an essential quality for a social worker.
Along the way I rediscovered the joy and beauty of this world that had been withheld from each of my clients. And most important, I realized the quality of which I am most proud to possess: an innate ability to listen. But as time went along, my commitment to making a change in this community went beyond listening. Every unique story deepened my sense of responsibility to help individuals find some sense of a personal purpose in life. It is because of them that I started the parent support groups. Every Wednesday evening welcomed mothers of different backgrounds to the "Parent Night Out" support group. The conference room served as a space of healing and self-learning for victims of domestic violence, homeless mothers, and people who were involved in the child welfare system. As a group we used their past experiences to understand oppression, their community, and the issues they faced every day. By working together I was able to identify their strengths and provide them with a complete support-system. Here I had the privilege of meeting extraordinary women of all backgrounds who rose above their plight. Although I gained invaluable insight within the actual discussions and interactions of the group, I learned the most about myself by starting this program. I started this program to promote social justice within one of the most marginalized communities in the United States. In remembering my mother's hardships, I refused to see another woman struggle. I refused to give up on these women, who put into action the silent words of my intuition.