Mary Richmond is one of the best known social workers in the American dimension of social work. A female born in the US lived for 67 years and was born and died in the United States where she dedicated most of her career to social work and teaching. The family history of Mary Richmond largely determined her career as both of her parents died when Richmond was 7 years old. She was educated by her grandmother and aunts who dedicated their time to Richmond’s upbringing. Another curious fact that determined her commitment to the career in social work was the fact of homeschooling until the age of eleven (Nash, 2015). Only when Mary was eleven, she entered public school and had an opportunity to explore the value of public education. Besides that, Richmond became deeply involved with the Unitarian Church and dedicated much of her time to church activities.
The path towards the active pursuit of a career of Mary Richmond began in 1888 when she became involved with the Charity Organization Society which focused on developing structured approaches to the career in social work in many cities around the country (Ishibashi, 2015). For about forty years, Mary Richmond became a dedicated professional who served the poor, disabled, and needy. Much of her time and commitment to the profession of social work came at the moment when the World War I hit the world and the need for her professional assistance and career grew even further.
Mary Richmond contributed to diverse areas of social work and her focus went far beyond the activities of the Charity Organization Society. First and foremost, Richmond contributed a lot of her time raising awareness of the Charity Organization Society as well as focused on presenting a wealth of the opportunities aimed at supporting social work. As she was professionally involved with the organization, she was in charge of visiting homes of different people and offering direct solutions aimed at improving the life situations of those in need of an assistant. Initially, her profession was called casework but the meaning evolved and she was offering assistance to those in need. In 1900, Richmond underwent a considerable career shift and was appointed the general secretary of the Philadelphia Society of Organizing Charity (Murdach, 2011). Her commitment to social work extended to the advocacy for structural reforms that would benefit the realm of social work. Specifically, Richmond called for improvements in child labor, as well as called for compulsory education. She also looked at the cases of spousal desertion and nonsupport through her professional efforts.
I believe that Mary Richmond certainly translated the values of social justice through her efforts. As she was working on advocating for fair conditions of child labor, she definitely wished to see the same rules apply to all children (Nash, 2015). I also think that Richmond accurately showcased the importance of human relationships as she was visiting homes as well as attested to the importance of integrity and competence in her day-to-day work. Each of those values contributed to the powerful image of the social work environment.
I really admired the sense of fearlessness as well as a commitment to the community work that Mary Richmond demonstrated. During her childhood and first years after graduation, Richmond underwent a lot of struggles, and finding peace and understanding came as a challenging process to her. At the same time, one she joined the charity work and contributed to the organization she represented, she illustrated the importance of her focus to the cause she was committed to. As she went through a lot of struggles herself, she became a truly committed advocate of the social changes and amplified the need for ambition and fearlessness in overcoming the challenging life situation. I believe that any professional working in the domain of social work would be in need of such attributes for making genuine changes in community life.
In the professional realm, I felt that Richmond’s contribution to the institutional environment of social work was particularly important. She was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee and did not limit her professional efforts with the fight with one cause only. The institutional commitment to the profession was particularly important, especially as Richmond contributed to the Public Charities Associated as well as to the Housing Association. I felt that the launch of the Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee was a particularly important step in Richmond’s career as it institutionalized the efforts of Richmond in the years of her work. Besides, a lot of children around the country were in need of social protection as the age of Industrialization largely imposed strict requirements on child labor. The commitment of Richmond to his cause felt most appealing to me amidst the social changes.
Mary Richmond inspired me in several ways. First, she demonstrated the need to stay aligned with the cause I may be fighting for regardless of the possible professional endeavors on the way. Second, she inspired me not to be afraid and advocate for the legislative changes on the causes that feel most relevant to me. Third, Richmond never stopped learning and researching, so the importance of lifelong education in the field of social work was another important revelation in the aftermath of the exploration of Richmond’s personality. Overall, I felt empowered and even more willing to pursue changes in social work, despite the obstacles and burdens that may arise on the way.