“Through helping other people I learn more about myself”

Regina A. Pringle is a dedicated social worker with many years of service in various organizations in the United States. She also served in the U.S. Army Reserves. In this exclusive interview for the 3Love Inc. blog, we were honored to speak with her and have her share with us some of her life experiences, the lessons she has learned throughout her career and her views on the challenges and rewards of social work.

What motivated you to dedicate your life to social work?

Initially I just kind of landed at an excellent agency, that group of social workers took me right in, established the proper perimeters as to what needed to be done to be helpful in the communities and I think it was a great experience, seeing how things work, how you see things fluidly work from the research portion to the finance portion, to the implementation of it. The name of the agency is Turning Points for Children, it´s quite influential in the Philadelphia community. So I think it was kind of key to me being here.

You are certified in recognizing and reporting child abuse. How do you identify that a child is a victim of violence either at home or at school?

Most of the workers here are mandated reporters in the States. So if we see any indication of these sort of behaviors, then we need to report it immediately to the proper authorities within your particular area and also to your supervisor, that´s mandated or you can be penalized with it. So it´s not necessarily up to you to determine if it´s that form of abuse, but if you see it or you believe it´s happening or you see any evidence of it, if you feel as though maybe you’re dealing with the child and you see those sorts of indicators, then you need to report that in.

You worked as Veteran Operation Desert Storm in the United States Army Reserves. What were some of the biggest life lessons you learned from that experience?

Let me say to you as well at that time I was pregnant with my oldest child. So because of that I had the option of actually not attending until the pregnancy went through and come at a later time, but I did opt to go with the group that I had trained with. There were a lot of life lessons there, but I think that maybe the main lesson is that you really have to pe patient and watch things unfold. A lot of people want instantaneous gratification, and that´s something in this society that you really see, they want everything done like this (she snaps her fingers). That´s not how life goes. You have to wait, things have to unfold. And normally if you do the right thing through each phase, it’ll come out to your advantage. They have a saying, it used to be “Hurry up and wait” in the Army because they want you to do everything real fast but you really can´t see how it implements or how it works together. I think that the best lesson would be that you have to be patient and wait for things to really unfold. Things take a lot of time.

Through your work you help other people. What is the greatest satisfaction you get from being able to dedicate yourself to social work?

Through helping other people I learn more about myself. I think that is the greatest reward.

What skills should a person who wants to work in social work have or develop?

I think listening is the most important thing that you could do. A lot of times, whatever you´re incurring, well, most likely you want to have in hand a skill or two. The first thing you have to do is listen, so that you can identify what´s going on. And communication next, because you have to be able to verbalize what is going on and make sure we connect it, so we can go through that path together, because that is what social work is: somebody holding your hand to help you get down the path.

You are currently studying for a Master’s degree in Social Work. Why do you think it is important to continue learning and expanding your knowledge?

It´s always important to expand your knowledge. You can never learn too much. Everything is a lesson. And what you have to do is learn how to carry it with you. Even if you fail in what it was you were trying to do, you still learn. So I was just on the phone with my girlfriend and she is trying to raise teenagers. Her daughter just graduated from junior high school, she is excited about going to high school but this is a different society. So a lot of your friendships are over social media. So I said to her: “This is something new to you and her, and you guys may have to manage that together, because not only do you want to feel secure but you want to make sure she is safe. And she wants to make sure she is safe”. And this is trying to help your daughter be social. Life is changing all the time and new things are coming up, this AI, I don´t know what it stands for, but I better figure it out.

If you could change just one thing in society so we can have a better world, what would it be?

I am soldier, a veteran, but I would really rethink the guns. I don´t know if it´s the making of them or passing out of them, but I would really rethink the guns.

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