60 Social Work Quotes About These Everyday Heroes

Social work is a challenging and often thankless job—but the magnitude of the profession is captured in these inspirational social work quotes.

Social workers are trained professionals whose goal is to empower individuals and communities.

Social workers often work with the poorest, most traumatized, or troubled members of our society.

They see the children who are victims of abuse and in need of loving homes.

They work with the people who need help to just have a chance of survival.

Social workers can be a beacon of hope to so many people.

Their desire to make the world a better place can weigh heavily on them, though.

They are not superheroes who can single-handedly save the world.

Yet, they show up to work every day and try, despite the red tape and opposition they can face.

You will see the love, compassion, and focus on the inherent dignity and worth of all people in their actions.

It is also present in these social worker quotes about kindness.

If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

If you want more motivational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.

Inspirational social work quotes

1. “Speak up if you want to bring change to the world.” — Dr. DaShanne Spokes

2. “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act.” — Dalai Lama

3. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

4. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” — Thurgood Marshall

5. “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” — Bernice Johnson Reagon

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6. “As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” — Dieter F. Uchtdorf

7. “At this very moment, there are individuals only you can reach, and differences only you can make in their lives.” — Mike Dooley

8. “It’s a privilege to be able to bear witness to someone’s story when they may not have had the chance to tell it before.” — Lindy Alexander

9. “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that you cannot sincerely try to help another without helping yourself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. “It is not your job to save everyone. Some people are not even ready to be helped. Focus on being of service to those who are, and be wise and humble enough to know when the best service you can offer is to guide them toward help in another direction.” — Anna Taylor

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Social worker quotes about what social work is like

11. “Social work is a work of heart.” – Unknown

12. “Social Work is the Art of Listening and the Science of Hope.” — Unknown

13. “To a social worker working for others is not a job, it is a joy.” — Amit Kalantri

14. “I fell in love with social work, and that was my undoing as a poet.” — Carl Rakosi.

15. “There is only one science, physics: everything else is social work.” — James D. Watson

16. “We are not social workers. We are contemplatives in the heart of the world.” — Mother Teresa

17. “When you do ‘it’ right, Social Work is a feeling that is larger than your own life.” — Ogden W. Rogers.

18. “Evangelism without social work is deficient; social work without evangelism is impotent.” — John Mott.

19. “I became a social worker because I want to give a voice to those who don’t feel heard.” — Peter Swanson

20. ”I can’t imagine a social worker, for example, devoting herself to such a profession unless she had in her mind, at some level of consciousness, a vision of a better society than the one she’s actually engaged with day after day.” — Northrop Frye

Funny Social work quotes

21. “Don’t make me use my social worker voice!” — Unknown

22. “You can’t fix crazy. All you can do is document it.” — Unknown

23. “I do this for the money! Said no social worker ever!” — Unknown

24. “A worried social worker does better research than the FBI.” — Unknown

25. “I may not be a superhero but I’m a social worker and killing it!” — Unknown

26. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Shirley Chisholm

27. “Being a social worker is easy. It’s like riding a bike except the bike is on fire. You are on fire. Everything is on fire.” — Unknown

28. “If you ever want to know what a social worker’s mind is like, imagine a browser with 2,587 tabs open. All. The. Time.” — Unknown

29. “Social work: The only profession where taking a day off creates more work than actually showing up to work in the first place.” — Unknown

30. “How long does it take a social worker to change a lightbulb? 10 seconds to do it, then 3 hours writing the case notes and assessment, justifying the need for intervention.” — Unknown

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Social work quotes about kindness

31. “Offer your hand, not your judgement.” — Unknown

32. “A hand loses nothing by holding other’s hand.” — Amit Kalantri.

33. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop.

34. “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” — Steve Maraboli

35. “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” — John Bunyan

36. “The small charity that comes from the heart is better than the great charity that comes from the head.” — Ivan Panin

37. “Let me do all the good I can, to all the people I can, as often as I can, for I shall not pass this way again.”  John Wesley

38. “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” — Albert Schweitzer

39. “Kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light. You’ll never know how much your caring matters. Make a difference for another today.” — Amy Leigh Mercree

40. “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” — Pema Chodron

Social work quotes about being helpful

41. “Helping others is the secret sauce to a happy life.” — Todd Stocker

42. “How do you measure your growth? By how much you help.” — Meir Ezra

43. “By helping others, you will learn how to help yourselves.” — Aung San Suu Kyi

44. “I’m most proud of helping so many others achieve their dreams as founders.” — David Cohen

45. “A life lived helping and serving others is always interesting and beneficial.” — Eric M. Watterson

46. “Helping is self-satisfaction and not expecting anything in return, a volunteer act.” — Babuschka Lorenz

47. “Always have a willing hand to help someone, you might be the only one that does.”  Roy T. Bennett

48. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” — Dalai Lama

49. “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” — Mother Teresa

50. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Sam Levenson

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Social Work Quotes For Collectiveness and Care

51. “The purpose of social work should not be to distribute favours, but to restore rights.” — Adolf Hitler

52. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” — Mother Teresa

53. “We try to use our experiences as leverage for our social work, to help children to get education because that is the way to get a special life.” — Vitali Klitschko

54. “I work hard in social work, public relations, and raising the Grimaldi heirs.” — Grace Kelly

55. “Politics is social work with power.” — Barbara Mikulski

56. “My dear girl, don’t talk nonsense to me! You’re lazy, that’s all that’s wrong with you. Why don’t you take up social work?” — Georgette Heyer

57. “The more you care, the stronger you can be.” — Jim Rohn

58. “I am a community social psychologist and a lot of my work deals with social work and helping people overcoming addiction and trauma.” — Chath Piersath

59. “I think kids have got to learn how to work with what’s happening, work with social, work with everything. To complain about how things aren’t the way they used to be.” — Diplo

60. “The government should now launch an initiative to encourage people to join the social work profession.” — Andy Sawford

What it is like to be a social worker

Social workers are people who have spent their careers helping people, but there are a few specific things that social workers do.

They work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, community development corporations, and private practices.

They work full time (with varying hours) and may need to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

A social worker might get a call at 2 in the morning and need to respond to a child that needs placement.

It is not an easy 9-5 job.

They rarely do it for the money either, as the median wage of a social worker in 2020 was $51,760.

It really is a labor of love.

Social workers often battle depression and anxiety.

With what they see every day at the office, it is little wonder!

What’s your biggest takeaway from these social work quotes and sayings?

Do you know any social workers in your life?

Let us know what makes these people special in the comment section below!

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