GOSO is staffed by a dedicated team of licensed social workers. In honor of Social Work Month, we asked our team members to discuss their passions for their profession and reflect on their experiences at GOSO. In the second part of this series, Julia Friedman discusses GOSO’s support systems.

What motivated you to become a social worker?

To be brief, I became a social worker to support marginalized communities be able to be their best selves– I lay down the stepping stones, but they have to take the steps towards change.

Where did you go to school and where else have you worked?  

I got my BA in Sociology at Drew University, then for my MSW, I went to NYU. I was a Social Work Intern at Community Roots Charter School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

What are the challenges and rewards of social work?

It depends how you look at things, but there are certainly a lot of challenges because of the systemic inconsistencies. When young men recidivate, it’s extremely challenging and painful. There are MANY rewards that outweigh the challenges. Getting to know a young man, supporting them, and seeing them go outside of their comfort zone is extremely rewarding, as well as seeing the young men achieve their goals. At GOSO, this happens a lot!

How long have you been with GOSO and what about its mission is meaningful to you?

I have been with GOSO since I was a Social Work Intern in the Fall of 2014, then got hired after my internship in the Spring of 2015. The mission speaks to the harsh reality that young men of color face in NYC and around the country. GOSO’s small, family-feel creates an environment where their harsh reality is relieved by acceptance, love, and opportunity.

What is one of your fondest memories working with GOSO clients?

Every time I meet and work with a GOSO participant at the adolescent building on Rikers Island, advocate for them in court, and see them come into our office and thrive–nothing is better than that!

What advice do you have for someone considering a career in social work?

Do it! There is no way to anticipate how gratifying, fun, and expansive this work is. To be the best social worker possible, self-care needs to be a priority, which includes a balance of both work and life.