Within the vast and growing profession of social work many value mentorship to help navigate through each level. From BSW to LCSW-C, many social work professionals thrive from receiving support, guidance, and mentoring. Bodequia Simon saw this need and took action. She founded Black Girls in Social Work. As the President, she has expanded her vision from an online community to in-person events across the globe. Her network of Black Girls in Social Work offers a safe space for professional vulnerabilities, needs, and authenticity.
In addition to creating a safe place for social work professionals, Bodequia also serves as a Library Social Worker at the LMSW level. “I am currently a Library Social Worker where I concentrate on resource broker services to visitors of a county library in a rural area. I work one on one with library patrons and provide them with resources that meet their needs and create special programs at the library that meet the needs of the community on a broader scale,” states Bodequia Simon.
Being a change agent took years of studying, growing, and practicing. For Bodequia she received her inspiration early on. “I wanted to assist with the advancement of the Black community, but I did not know how I would accomplish that. I shadowed a Social Worker in high school in the medical setting and I was able to witness the impact of a professional providing services in the form of empathy and community work,” she continues. With change comes much reward and challenges. Although some may not see the rewards in social work as an outside professional, they are genuine rewards that are gained as you see your hard work flourish from helping others.
“The greatest reward that I’ve had in Social Work has been creating and leading the organization of Black Girls in Social Work. It has assisted Black women in the Social Work field from all over the country in various and different meaningful ways<” she adds. Despite the gains, there are challenges along the way that often bring setbacks, low morale, and burnout. However, Bodequia continues to remain true to the value of social work practice. “My greatest challenge in Social Work has been serving as a Medical Social Worker in an emergency room during the pandemic. Before becoming a Library Social Worker, I worked full-time in an ER at the start of COVID-19 and during an overwhelming amount of staff changes,” she adds. “I was overworked, burned out, and exhausted so much that it impacted my personal relationships and the operations of my organization. I experienced the overall challenge of finding and maintaining a balance between work and life since graduating with my MSW and I’ve finally learned how to implement boundaries, self-love, and self-care,” Bodequia Simon expresses.
Bodequia is creatively impacting communities of color. Her expertise and leadership are creating not only the seats but the entire table in multiple lanes of social work. “As a Library Social Worker, I work in a county that is rural with a majority African American population. I’ve been able to link clients with mental health services, social service benefits, and home care services for clients of older age,” she continues. “As creator of Black Girls in Social Work, I’ve assisted thousands of Black women with advancing their professional careers by providing community, mentorship, scholarships, and personal/professional development events. We have also been able to serve 20+ communities throughout the country through community service projects ranging from toiletry drives for domestic violence shelters; baby drives for unhoused mothers; PPE materials for nursing agencies and communities; and various other initiatives led by our State Ambassadors,” Bodequia states.
Bodequia Simon is a creative with a passion for supporting other Black women and communities of color. Her innovative efforts have helped to streamline more authentic social work professionals within our communities to better serve disadvantaged populations. She is goals. She gives boss vibes. Follow her amazing brand for new books, journals, special events, speaking engagements, and more. Connect with Bodequia Simon of Black Girls in Social Work online as @blackgirlsinsocialwork and @ablackgirlsinsocialwork.
Writer C. Scott is an authorpreneur, mom, and freelance writer who also offers literary services. Follow her online as @curls_coils.
Photos courtesy of Bodequia Simon