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My name is Anika Davis and I am a 42 year old student in Wayne’s BSW program and plan
to graduate in May 2015. When I first applied to the BSW program I knew that I wanted to help
people but since starting my senior year in the program I realize that I would like to do so much
more than just help. I plan to advocate for change. My experiences in life have been both
challenging and enlightening. They have helped me become a much stronger person. My lessons
over the last year, both personal and academically, have helped me to gain greater insight into
human behavior, practice methods, and cultural diversity among other things. Having a strong
knowledge base regarding human behavior is essential to social workers because it will
ultimately assist in decision making with clients. During my first semester in field placement, I
have worked with many children, severely and persistently mentally ill clients, and individuals
on a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity contract. Working with these populations can be trying
and I have definitely honed my interpersonal intelligences.
My field placement agency is located in the city of Detroit. It is a community Mental Health
agency that serves severely and persistently mentally ill as well as dual-diagnosis clients. In my
placement, I have been challenged with finding ways to keep emotionally unstable clients calm
in order to conduct interview sessions. I met with a client who was schizophrenic and agitated.
She became anxious and was unable to control her urge to be combative with me. I remained
calm and levelheaded. Keeping a conscious mind of the issues the client was dealing with
enabled me to utilize empathic responses with her to get her to calm down. At the end of our
session, the client apologized to me and explained that she had been without her medication and
that was the reason she behaved the way she had. I was pleased with the success of our session
because my patience with her allowed her to reflect on her own behavior.



With my Social Work degree, I plan to work with foster care families. My wish is to find
employment working directly with foster parents. I would like to focus on foster parents because
I find that in the foster care system much emphasis is placed on the biological parent and the
children but not enough on the foster parents themselves. This disparity often leads to
substandard fostering of children. Many foster children find themselves placed in homes where
they are tools to supplement income instead of being loved and valued. In instances such as this,
often times the foster parent fails to meet the child’s basic needs. While I acknowledge there are
many loving foster parents, I recognize that more attention could be focused on ensuring this.
I also hope to work with children and their families in an urban agency or private practice
setting. I prefer private practice because I believe I will be more effective without the restrictions
and limitations placed on some agencies to focus on productivity and paperwork. Urban agencies
can still be effective but face many challenges. Through my current field placement at a mental
health facility, I have been able to identify many of the ethical dilemmas the social worker’s face
when trying to meet their clients’ needs and still meet their productivity and paperwork goals. I
do hope to be involved somehow in advocating to change some of the restrictions placed on
social welfare agencies.
After MSW graduation, I plan to secure a position in case management for a couple of years
because I find it important to my success as a social worker. Case managers gather invaluable
resources to assess, monitor, coordinate, and link their clients to needed resources. I would not
want to proceed as a therapist without an adequate understanding of case management. Case
managers are often the very ones who offer people hope and show them that humanity is not lost.
The last few years have been very difficult for many Americans, and the trials of our world
have continued to hit home for me. I started out in a family with a step-father, aunt and uncle



who were all heroin addicts. Although my step-father was abusive to my mother and an addict he
served in our United States Army and worked for General Motors for 19 years and retired from
the City of Detroit. My aunt and uncle both escalated to crack cocaine but they both got clean
and moved on with their lives. My aunt went on to get a G.E.D., attend Wayne State University
and obtain two Master’s degrees. She is currently an addiction counselor. My uncle returned to
trade school and became a carpenter and mentor to troubled boys. My step-father was never able
to break his addiction but he too demonstrated for me how much people can accomplish despite
their adversities. My family’s trials taught me to respect all people and not to look down on
anyone. I learned not to judge people based on their struggles.
In addition to my family’s addictions, I have lost many friends and family members to
violence. In my BSW personal statement I mentioned my older brother who went to prison at 19
years old. He was released from prison at 37 years of age. Last year he returned to school and is
now a truck driver for one of the largest multi-national trucking companies. During my brother’s
time in prison, my mother and I raised his two sons. One of them was murdered in front of my
mother’s home. Despite my brother’s history and anger issues, he stayed prayerful and worked
with the police to catch his son’s killer. My younger cousin was killed during an attempted
robbery that he was committing. For some reason, during the robbery he changed his mind and
turned to walk away and was shot in the back. He was a good person who decided to do
something bad that cost him his life. This incident was proof to me that we should not judge
people but try to understand and help them. Most recently, during my junior year in the BSW
program my 64 year old step-father was shot and killed by two young adults during a robbery.
He was shot as he stood at the bus stop with a Meals on Wheels bag. They took his cell phone.
This was my most difficult time because I could not understand why he was shot.



During my lifetime, I have learned that there is a lesson to gain from every experience. From
my aunt, uncle, brother, and father I learned that it is never too late for growth. Never give up on
people, never render them hopeless. With a little encouragement, guidance, and support the
possibilities are endless. From my cousin, nephew, and father I learned that sometimes bad
things happen to good people and good people can do bad things. I chose to take those lessons as
a reminder in my professional life to remain open-minded and non-judgmental regardless of
what I am faced with. I know this may be a challenge at times but I am committed to my
profession, to social work values, and to the NASW code of ethics.