Human Services Seminar

Margaret Layne

Human Services Seminar – HUS 1203

Professional Essay

Fall Semester 2016


I am the last of five children, born on the beautiful island of St. Vincent & the Grenadines to the late Newton and Alice Layne. I first attended the Kingstown Anglican School, then The St. Vincent Girls High School, and finally The St. Vincent Grammar School. I now live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn New York. Having deferred my educational goals in pursuit of corporate advancement, I have now decided to continue and complete my degree. While working in the private sector, customer service and problem solving have been an integral part of my work experience. This has propelled me towards a career that further enhances what seem to have come naturally to me – service above self. A lesson well learnt through example by observing and accompanying my mother in her community activism, women’s affairs and charitable work through the church.

Service to others has always been a part of my life from a very early age.  It started being a “Brownie” or junior Girl Guide, and being an active member of The YWCA – where I served as president of the junior club, and later as a Girl Guide and Senior Guide right up to the time I left high school. We did a lot of community work especially visiting the pediatric, and the geriatric ward at the General Hospital. When our volcano- La Soufriere- erupted in 1979 all service affiliated clubs, churches and the unaffected communities came out in large numbers to serve and be of service to our fellowmen who suffered devastating losses, as well as being permanently removed from their homes. The suffering was tangible, but the lost looks on the children and older folk’s faces left an indelible impression on me. This experience taught me how we cannot take anything for granted and the old adage “waste not, want not” took on greater significance in my life. I did not know at the time that what I was experiencing was empathy towards my community. Fast forward to my adult life, I cringe at the steady breakdown in the moral fiber, and fracturing decay of the family unit in our society. At the center of this malaise and the most vulnerable, are the children and the elderly. I believe we as a society have a moral obligation to protect and harness the potential growth of all youth. We must also pay homage to the elderly with honor through decent care and services to make their retired years comfortable. The Human Service professional embodies all helping traits and the desire to make things right/better so that the disenfranchised, marginalized, the sick, and all who face some form of discrimination can find a level of worthwhile support and help with dignity and respect.

I think I exhibit an above average level of patience and I am a good listener, I have from an early age been able to “read between the lines” so to speak, and I have practiced to “shut out” unnecessary noise around me and focus on what I need to do. My friends have always told me I am trustworthy and they can confide in me without fear of me repeating their confidences. These qualities were very evident in my involvement in dance and sport. As a player/coach, I had to be a good team member. This enhanced my leadership skills as a team captain, coach and umpire. I was able to work with younger girls in particular, and through sport was able to guide them in a more disciplined extracurricular activity.

My involvement in sports therefore has solidified my belief that we are stronger as a team than as individuals. More can be done if we put our collective talents together for greater results. As a human service professional, we have to draw on the resources of many people from different networks in the helping field to procure the help needed for effective results. I come from a very diverse background and I was taught from an early age to be respectful of everyone, even those with whom we may disagree. I am a member of my neighborhood organization whose members are from different backgrounds and ethnicity all coming together for the collective and common good of the community we live in. Where I work serves a tapestry of people from all ethnicity. It is therefore important to be open to learning new things and to become worldly of certain basic facts in order to be of good service to those with whom we come in regular contact. Thus ignorance of the community human service professional serve is no excuse for substandard care. Knowledge is power.

The young and the old represent the two ends of the continuum of life. They are of invaluable importance and are vital for the growth and continuity of communities. The young can learn from the old and gain invaluable knowledge to enhance and guide them into their future.

By the time of my graduation I hope to be better equipped to be more objective in my ability to omit my personal feelings and biases from the job; at the same time retaining empathy and sensitivity to serve in this noble profession.  Thus in ten year’s time  I hope to be in a position where I can play a bigger role in formulating policies to improve the lives of the clients served.