Chapter Activities

Activity 1: Advocacy Research

Provide your students with the following scenario and questions. They should turn in their responses.

Imagine you are a social worker who works for a small nonprofit organization dedicated to homelessness. You have lately noticed what you think is a spike in the number of clients who have children under the age of 5. You have no in-house expertise on research and, even if you had, the majority of your time is spent providing assistance to individual clients. However, you’ve recently heard that your statewide NASW chapter is lobbying the state legislature on a bill targeting homeless children and you want to testify. 

  1. Go to the Kids Count Data Center.
  2. Figure out which of the measures may be relevant to your question.
  3. How did your state fare in the most recent year on these measures?
  4. How has your state fared over time?
  5. How does your state compare to all other states?
  6. How does your state compare to similar states? (HINT: think of what are relevant similarities in this context, i.e., population density? Income? Housing costs? Political leanings?)
  7. Based on what you have learned, what information would you want to present to the state legislature?
  8. What would be the best way to present that information (i.e., pie chart, bar graph, table)?

Activity 2: Discussion 

The tensions raised around social casework have continued into social work today. Form groups that have students who are interested in individual, meso, and macro practice. They should discuss the following questions in groups, then compare their responses with the rest of the class.

  1. How are the tensions we described above reflected in different types of social work practice?
  2. How might these tensions be resolved?
  3. How might social workers who practice individual therapy or case management tap into broader social change?

Activity 3: Orphan Train Reflection

Provide your student with the following instructions:

  1. Go to the website “Orphan Train Rider Stories” that can be found here:
  2. Read one of the stories
  3. Think about the following as your read. If you are working in pairs or small groups, be prepared to share your answers with others and discuss
    1. Where was the child headed?
    2. Where did the child come from?
    3. How old was the child?
    4. What were or might have been this child’s hope for the future?