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Guest Blog: Journey to Social Work

Submitted by Rachel Harb on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 09:06

My name is Damian, and I'm excited to share my story with you. I'm a Mexican, gay, cis-gender male with learning disabilities, and I've always been passionate about learning new skills and expressing myself through fashion. Right now, I'm on an amazing journey to pursue a college degree and career in social work. These aspects of my identity and interests shape how I see the world and how I want to make a difference in it. One thing that has been truly important on this journey is the incredible support I've received, including grants for tutoring and academic help from the RFC.

My Background

When I was younger, I went through some tough times because of the abuse I faced from my biological mother. This experience left a mark on me, and I was diagnosed with PTSD when I was just four years old. But I had an amazing support system that helped me overcome these challenges. My dad, stepmom, grandma, teachers, and tutors all came together to guide me and help me grow. They helped me become more comfortable with who I am, and that's something I want to do for others as a social worker. I want to be there for kids who need someone to lean on, just like I had people to lean on.

Discovering My Calling

As I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to help others. In my junior year of high school I attended an open house at the university I'm going to attend, and a social work professor spoke about the coursework and the exciting opportunities that come after graduation. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head – I knew this was my calling! I shared this newfound passion with my family who have always been my biggest supporters. They encouraged me to follow my heart and pursue a career in social work. They believed in me, just like I believe in myself.

Passion for Social Justice

Throughout my life, I've also found ways to stand up for what's right. My stepmom was a valuable role model for this, which is what led us to the Rosenberg Fund for Children in the first place after she was barred from work opportunities by a former employer because of her social justice work. Alongside one or both of my parents I've walked in marches, volunteered at events, and even worked on political campaigns. One of the most memorable experiences was volunteering with a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign. We reached out to Latinx voters in my county, helping them register and find their polling locations. It was a bit scary at first, but I pushed through my anxieties to help my team succeed. Our collective group reached over half a million voters!

Overcoming Challenges and Looking Ahead

I've faced challenges head-on, like working with my dad on his slaughterhouse business and raising chickens, even though I'm squeamish around blood and guts. But I know that my true calling lies in social work, where I can support children and families, just like I was supported. In the past several years I have sought paid and volunteer opportunities to work with children where I get to inspire kids and help them learn about themselves and the world around them. These experiences have shown me how much I love connecting with others and making a positive impact.

I want to express my deep gratitude to the RFC for the positive impact this Foundation has had in my life related to the valuable academic support that has helped me reach this exciting milestone of starting college this August! These resources have been invaluable on my journey to college and my dream of becoming a social worker. Your support has made a significant difference in my education, and I am truly grateful.

As I look ahead to my time at college and beyond, I'm filled with excitement and determination. My unique experiences, challenges, and passions have all shaped me into the person I am today, and I can't wait to channel that into a fulfilling career in social work. With the support I've received and the gratitude in my heart, I'm ready to make a positive impact on the world around me. Thank you for joining me on this journey of growth, learning, and making a difference!



Congratulations on finding your calling!

Your post resonated with me as a fellow Mexican and because it reminded me of when I discovered my own calling: writing. My English teacher helped me realize this when I was 16.

I wish you the best!

Submitted by Tomás (not verified) on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 12:17

Stay positive and don't let anyone bring you down. This country needs more caring young men like you. Sending you love from Missouri.

Submitted by tamara (not verified) on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 12:24

We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to watch you grow and become such an amazing young adult. That you have chosen my profession of social work brings me great joy because the world will benefit from your brilliance and skill! Carry on, we will support you all the way!!

Submitted by Edith Lewis (not verified) on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 13:28

As one who had to battle back from full body polio (in 1946, long before the vaccine) I had to face discrimination in several ways. Besides my disability, I am female so was not considered college material by NY state. I never did get a college degree despite a total of 9 years spent working toward it, but was given the chance to learn a business (using my knowledge of classical music which I love)by a man who was willing/able to look past my crutches and brace. I was able to start my own business in another state after my children grew old enough.

I wish you success in your chosen career and I am certain that your experiences and your learning will carry you far. You show great desire to succeed and that is SO important.

Submitted by Esther Breslau (not verified) on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 14:29

You are going to do incredible things. I hope this next chapter in your life is filled with happiness and continued opportunities to make an impact!

Submitted by Tori Montemurro (not verified) on Tue, 08/15/2023 - 17:59

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