The Value of Social Work Campaign Champions Program
Social Worker Champion: Tammy Wagner
Honoured to be invited into people’s lives
It’s not often that people have the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of others, but that’s one of the reasons why Tammy Wagner is a registered social worker.
“What I love best about being a social worker is being a welcome guest in people’s lives,” she said. “Walking alongside them on their journey, whether it is through education, health or justice. The relationship we develop with our clients is unique and I always feel honoured to be invited into their lives, for a period of time.”
Wagner is currently a Clinical Social Worker on the youth team at Child and Youth Services with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. She provides direct therapy support to adolescents experiencing chronic and acute mental health presentations. It includes working knee-to-knee with adolescents, their parents, families and guardians. The health care team includes psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists and speech and language pathologists, among other disciplines.
She also works on contract as a Custody and Access Assessor for Family Justice Services with the Ministry of Justice. Her role is to complete court-ordered custody and access assessments for families who are going through a separation or divorce.
“Social workers make an immense difference in the work they carry out,” Wagner said. “They carry their work out with ethics, passion, care and compassion. The work of social workers considers the individual within their environment. We believe our client is the expert in their life. Our field is diverse and has many employment opportunities. Each position creates change and provides care, compassion and dignity to the people we support.”
Wagner’s path to social work wasn’t always a straight line. She tried education and justice before deciding upon social work. Her first job was the Executive Director of the University of Regina Women's Centre, where she was able to advocate on campus and in the community for gender equality, as well as provide crisis counseling and referrals.
She then became the Teen Parent Coordinator, employed by Family Service Regina, in the Balfour Special Tutorial program (now called the Shirley Schneider Support Centre). In this position she was able to do "grassroots" social work delivery since she supported many teen mothers as they worked hard to complete their graduation requirements. She also facilitated a support group called "When Love Hurts" for female adolescents in unhealthy dating relationships. This work was very rewarding since she was able to build relationships with the young women and walk beside them on their journeys to finishing high school.
Wagner encourages others to consider a career in social work. She said it is a privilege to work in the field and there are plenty of rewards for those who make it a profession.
“I have had many, many rewarding experiences as a social worker,” said Wagner. “Some of them include: receiving a Premier’s Award of Excellence honorable mention for the crisis work completed in La Loche, Saskatchewan following a school shooting; supporting students with intellectual and complex diagnoses be included in their school community and complete high school; seeing young children reunited with their mother after she has completed the When Love Hurts group and left her unhealthy relationship; supporting an adolescent student transition and seeing them living life with happiness and love; the list goes on and on. Every contact we make with a teen, parent, child, family is rewarding because we are invited guests into their lives and it is an honour to support them in their journey. Social work is not just a career, it is who you are. “