Serving with Faith
The distance from despair to hope
The difference between life and death
The shred of light in the darkness
The passage that once was unknown
Reason to live and to be alive
Feelings of fullness unlike all else
A friend needed in desperate times
See the good when little is left to be seen
Bring out your worth that was always there
Listens to your story, listens with the heart
Faith may not have seen
What your eyes have unfortunately seen
Nor may Faith have suffered
The sufferings your body has endured
Faith may not know
Indeed, may never understand
But Faith listens to your story
Listens with the heart
I am Eman, Eman Hulwe that is
My name is Eman, Eman as in Faith
Yes, Eman means faith
And I am here to live up to my name
My name is Eman Hulwe and I am the sixth daughter in a family of eight children. I have lived in South Carolina since I was five, where I attended a private school from grades one through eight. Following elementary education, I went to an international baccalaureate world high school. I am now in my senior year of undergraduate school at the University of South Carolina. I intend to graduate this May with a bachelor’s in Social Work.
Identity is something that I have always been interested in. I am an able-bodied, biracial American Muslim. I am a heterosexual woman, and young adult. I am a college student in the middle class with shelter. I have not been violated. I am privileged. My home life and school community heavily contributed to my sense of self and my experiences in these systems led to the ways in which I viewed the world outside of these systems. During my time at the College of Social Work, I was able to build on having a strong sense of self by understanding the different identities that exist and that each either privileges or oppresses me. Ultimately, I believe that it is my minority identities that provided me with the life experiences that allow me to be empathetic towards others.
My passion for serving is a value embedded in me from my family system and the identities that I have as a result of being born into my family affects the ways in which I can serve others. As a minority, I have the ability to relate to other minority groups, who are often the ones in need of social work services because of the oppression that they are facing as a result of their identities. My first experience serving a demographic that contrasted so greatly from my own was for my field placement.
I completed my 550 field placement hours for my undergraduate education at Columbia High School (CHS) with Communities In Schools (CIS) of the Midlands. My work there followed the CIS model, which includes assessment, planning, integrated student supports, monitoring and adjusting, and evaluating. CIS is an outside agency that collaborates with schools to provide resources to remove the barriers to education that students are facing. The resources range from alleviating food insecurities to connecting students to one-on-one tutoring sessions. Students that are at risk of dropping out need the extra support from CIS that they are lacking elsewhere. Operationally, this is what CIS does, but during my time there, I did more than just hand out resources.
My experience at CHS gave me the opportunity to work with many youth. I was able to build relationships with them that far exceeded any tangible resource they could have been given. I listened to them when other adults in their lives would not. In building these relationships, they aspired to be better than their environments and to not be restrained by them. As relationships are at the heart of social work, my beyond-the-classroom experience truly supplemented what I had learned within-the-classroom. These concurrent experiences led me to the development of my three key insights:
Building rapport requires the use of interpersonal skills that express to a client that the practitioner is there to help.
The Social Work value dignity and worth of a person extends to all individuals.
Professionals should be aware of personal values and professional ethics to avoid engaging in unethical behavior.
The last section is Leadership, where I delineate how I plan to make change at CHS in regard to the violence that occurs.