How I Learned Community




Buvinghausen, Berret

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Texas State University, School of Social Work.


The three poems provided were initially written for a hip-hop and social justice class. The project was about community in social work and the conciseness of social work values. These values include service, dignity, and worth of a person, the importance of human relationships, and competence. Service involves the overall attention and treatment of the client. In providing treatment, a social worker should ensure that the dignity and worth of the client are maintained reminding them that every journey is important and deserves attention. Dignity and worth and worth of the client can be categorized as competence, which can translate to awareness of self and awareness of the client. In the three poems, I express thoughts, feelings, and emotions that have shaped me into the person I am today. Love Thy Neighbor is to show how community was present in my childhood and highlights my innocence of not being highly aware of the chaos of life. It illustrates my thinking as a child and explains how this point of view influenced my adulthood perspective. Curiosity Raised the Cat describes how I became the young adult I am. It touches on the transition from everything I did not understand as a child to those experiences making sense. It poses the question of ‘what if I had never experienced the things described in Love Thy Neighbor. Finally, Love Thy Self culminates the choices and experiences I have made toward the social work profession. It concludes my story by having a full circle moment from being the scared child to being the comforting professional. These three poems shine a light on my childhood from ages five to 20 years old. It begins with discovering my dad's diagnosis of cancer in late 2007 and ends with me reaching my goal of becoming a social worker. The poems will gradually walk the reader through a devastating life experience that fueled my passion for social work and helping others. To submit these very personal poems, I had to allow myself to be vulnerable. It is important for social workers to reflect upon their firsthand experiences and values that influence their work with clients which may sometimes include being vulnerable with yourself. To encourage the client to do the same, a social worker must have the competence to create a safe and vulnerable place for the client to express dignity, self-worth, and self-determination.



poetry, social justice, hip hop, self awareness


Buvinghausen, B. (2022). How I learned community. Louder Than Words, 2(1), pp. 52-62.


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