George Asiedu Cobblah Social Services Director Four Seasons Living Center, Sedalia, MO
In 2013, I had the distinct privilege of being awarded the Crossroads Hospice Caring More Award. In this competitive world where it seems you have to bring attention to yourself, in a big way, to be recognized – social services professionals are often overlooked. Therefore, it is quite endearing for an organization like Crossroads to take special notice of those men and women who have devoted their lives to this field. For me, the award is an affirmation that you do not necessarily have to make a big splash about what you do to be noticed. It is humbling to know that others pay attention to what we do.
I have been working at Four Seasons Living Center for the past twenty-one years. I credit my interest in what I do directly to Dr. Novella Perrin and Ms Kenda Bremer. Dr. Novella Perrin was my professor who kindled my interest in Social Gerontology. Ms Kenda Bremer was my mentor, and provided me with an internship opportunity that led to my employment at Four Seasons. As social workers, we are instrumental in ensuring that the services provided by the direct caregiver, housekeeper, food preparation staff, laundry staff, maintenance staff, nursing and management staff, all coalesce in a unified way to enhance the individuality of each resident. We advocate for our residents and aim to create a community that’s as close to home as possible.
When my brother was informed that I had received the Caring More Award, he made the statement, “Brighten the corner where you are.” It reminded me of a hymn by Ina Dr. Ogdon, with the lyrics: “Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do. Do not wait to shed your light afar. To the many duties ever near you now be true; brighten the corner where you are.” Social workers do not wait to make a big splash. We are able to brighten someone’s life by making them feel special and needed. I get the added benefit of being taught and mentored by my residents. I have learned about patience, gratitude, perseverance, holding on, letting go, and hope in the face of poor odds.
Several years ago and in connection with my job, I became interested in the Sedalia Area Literacy Council. The goals of the latter are “to formulate and participate in programs that will increase the literacy rate, promote reading, and link local business, education and the community.” I was privileged to become a member of its pen pal program. The participants of this program are third graders in the nearby Washington School in Sedalia, Missouri. At the beginning of each school year, I anxiously wait for a letter that will tell me who my pen pal will be. The first meeting is exciting for both my pen pal and me. Through the exchange of letters, we learn about each other, and the pen pal improves his/her reading and writing skills in the process. Through the Caring More Award, I was able to donate $500.00 to the Sedalia Area Literacy Council. According to the US Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy, 32 million US adults can’t read. For a country that prides itself in the concept of freedom, can we afford a generation of non-readers? Frederick Douglass said it best: “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” It is my desire that the next generation of social workers will continue the tradition of serving multiple roles in the lives of the people we serve, wearing the different hats which make up the duties of a social worker, operating within the ethical standards of the profession, and seeking the good in people.
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