My Community Service Experience

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Updated: Aug 31, 2022
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I live in a rural area outside the city limits of Oak Grove, Missouri. Oak Grove has a population of 8,112, as of the census in 2017. It is a small town, with that small town atmosphere. It is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Oak Grove is described as a bedroom town because there are not many employment opportunities and people get up in the morning to go to work in the surrounding areas and then come home at night to have dinner and go to bed.

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There are three truck stops at our exit off of I-70. This helps our town financially.

Our town is a fairly close-knit town and they come together to help when times are tough for other in our community. On March 6, 2017, a EF3 tornado ripped through our community, we all came together to help those whose homes were destroyed or damaged. We pull together to help our own. We have had a few young people who have lost their battles with cancer but we pulled together to offer love and support as the families were going through it. We continue to help those families as they have set up organizations to help other families whose children are battling cancer.

Social Service Agencies

There is one social service agency in Oak Grove, Missouri. It is called Community Services League (CSL). It serves the Eastern Jackson County population. You must qualify for the services by making under a certain amount of money a month. If you do qualify, you can get monthly assistance with food, toiletries, and clothing. Sometimes you can get help paying a utility as long as it is under a certain amount and you are about to be shut off.

CSL also has a school supply drive in the summer leading up to the start of school. This allows families to get the supplies their child(ren) needs to start the school year off right. Families must register in advance for school supply assistance because even though the community helps collect supplies, the need is always greater than what is donated.

CSL sets up a Christmas store every December that has items for children of all ages from birth to teen. Some churches set up a giving tree with ornaments that have an item listed that a child or teenager might like. This is so that there is an assortment of age-appropriate items. Parents then register and schedule a time to come shopping at the Christmas store so that they will have gifts for their child(ren).

Non-Social Service Agencies that Employ Social Workers

There are four non-social service agencies that I found in our community that employ social workers. The first one is the school district. Oak Grove R-VI has received a grant along with a couple of other school districts in our area. This grant allows the support of a social worker to assist with needs in our school that require more than the school counselor. Unfortunately, because the social worker is not assigned to just Oak Grove, this person is only in our school district once a month. This really does not give them time to really get to know our students who need their services or to help them with the issues they may be facing. We need a fulltime social worker in our school district.

The second one is Oak Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation. The website states that they offer social services. I am not exactly sure what the social worker does at the nursing home because they are not willing to take the time to put you in contact with the social worker if you do not have a family member there. I would assume that they are there to help families work their way through the process of getting them into a nursing home and helping set up support that might be needed with this transition.

The third agency is Beacon of Hope Hospice. Their social worker is there to help with psychosocial issues and assist in identifying community resources as needed. They are there to help families that have had to set up hospice care of a loved one. They make sure that they have access to all resources that may be needed for this transition and work with them to make sure they are taken care of and get all the assistance that they might need during this transition into hospice and at the end of life of their loved one.

The fourth agency is Community Services League (CSL). They have a social worker that does integrated service that encompasses income support, employment services, housing counseling, and financial coaching. They are there to help every step of the way to find the resources they need for housing, financing, and to help them prepare for employment. Their social worker will help those in need prepare a resume and will give them avenues for employment opportunities that fit their skill set.

My Social Work Interests

My interest has changed a bit since before I started this degree program. We pulled our now 18-year-old son out of high school at the beginning of his sophomore year. He has always had a learning development issue and struggled in a traditional classroom setting, but his father and I decided early on that public school was his best avenue for learning social skills and how to interact with peers. Well, this changed in the fall of 2015 when he opened up to a friend that he had been bullied at school since his freshman year, where kids behind his back would say “you don’t belong here” and “you should kill yourself.” He also opened up that he was considering killing himself because of it. It had lowered his self-esteem. We had no idea this was going on but his grades were suffering tremendously. His friend told her parents and they told us. We decided it was best to pull him out of school as he was going to fail the semester. His attitude and demeanor changed after that. He started making Bs in his classes and brought his GPA up and is now graduated and has started working a fulltime job.

During this time I felt lead to be a counselor, to be someone who would be there to listen to our youth who might not have someone to really hear them. I made a deal with God that I would get my son through high school and then I would pursue my bachelor’s degree in counseling. So, this fall, I contacted the Admissions Office at Liberty University, where I had previously gotten my Associates of Arts in Religion, to register for the Counseling Program. After talking with the gentleman in admissions, we decided Social Work would be a great program because there are many different opportunities to be a voice for our young people. As I have begun classes, I still want to work with young people but I am feeling lead in the direction of palliative care. I still have about two years of classes left to take so I will have plenty of time to explore all of my options and find the right fit. 

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My Community Service Experience. (2021, Apr 28). Retrieved from