Fifteen percent. Yes, only 15% of the 188,000 and more social workers in the U.S. are Black women. This may be a shock to some but it’s an accepted challenge to those who carry the touch within the profession daily. It truly takes a special person to have a social work career and Nicole Crawford-Sumerall is a licensed, clinical social worker who is making waves to help others in her home state of Kentucky. “Social work is my passion. It’s challenging yet rewarding, but it’s still my calling,” she explains.
When many think of social work their attention immediately goes to child protective services. But social work is so much more than that. Helping professionals can be seen in child welfare, court advocacy, victim awareness, education, private practice, content creation, politics, local and federal government, and hospital settings. “I switched my major 3 times and after taking my first sociology class I knew social work was for me. I love to study people (the whys and hows have always intrigued me). I never planned to be a therapist, that just naturally happened,” Nicole adds.
Her active career work has allowed her to understand her purpose and passion. While others may take this lightly, Nicole is honored to help others with each given day. “My purpose found me and it’s to help others be their best selves as they weather life’s storms. But I know I’m in my lane when I continue to wake up happy and excited to go to work,” she continues. Nicole even joined a recent book anthology with other social workers to share about her purpose, passion, and inspiration in her career. Through the “It Takes A Village” book collaboration she shares personal stories about her career challenges, professional development, and motivation to break barriers.
“My “earthly angel” sister friend, Serretta, asked me to go on this journey with her. I thought about it and decided that it would be a great challenge and opportunity for me to continue to grow in my areas of weakness,” she recalls. “It has been a wonderful experience meeting new women of color with great passion and strengths that they are sharing with the world. I truly believe that it does take a village; and if that seed is planted and watered, amazing things can happen,” Nicole shares. In all that Nicole does, she always hopes to leave a positive message for others. “I hope that others will be inspired to create villages or join other villages as they keep being change agents to spread goodness in the world. I hope the book encourages and motivates,” she adds about her hopeful message in sharing the book with the world.
Although it’s uplifting to help others, social workers must also maintain their own wellness journeys. It also takes a village to help other professionals see this. “I pray, exercise, laugh a lot, and spend time with the people that surround me with positive energy and love,” Nicole states about her own self-care. With her knowledge, insight, and love for others, it’s no wonder that she is a well-rounded change agent in the community. “My career will continue to make me a better person and provide an opportunity for me to pave the way for others as my ancestors did for me,” she exclaims. Stay tuned for the March 2023 release of the “It Takes A Village” book anthology as it arrives in time for National Social Work Month. Connect with Nicole Crawford-Sumerall, LCSW by visiting her website.
Writer, C. Scott, is a volleyball mom, authorpreneur, LMSW, and freelance writer. Connect with her online as @thee_wellnesscollective and @curls_coils.