Nurturing Dreams and Community Through Social Work

Published: December 13, 2023

For College of Western Idaho (CWI) Social Work student, Brighton Rose, the dream had always been to become a counselor. Originally a Psychology major, Rose was first exposed to the possibilities a career in Social Work can offer after a guest speaker who worked in the industry presented at one of his classes.

“I really aligned with the social worker code of ethics, and I realized that pursuing a degree in Social Work would be a better fit for me,” said Rose. "I am passionate about helping people."

After that presentation, Rose pivoted to earning a degree in Social Work and had a more defined goal in mind: to become an elementary school counselor or school-based social worker.

The College’s Social Work program mission is to help students begin to develop diversity-competent social work skills while preparing students for transfer to a four-year institution. The program helps students achieve the mission by creating a foundation in ethical generalist practice, the ability to think critically about social policy, research, and the helping process, and the experience of applying social work concepts to real-world situations. Service Learning is incorporated in the Social Work courses.

Some of Rose’s favorite experiences at CWI were the ones rooted in Service Learning opportunities through Foundations of Social Work (SOCW 202). The course requires students to complete a 45-hour Service Learning experience in an approved social service organization. Rose was placed in an elementary school at West Ada School District where he supported a first-grade classroom. His day-to-day activities include helping students with their assignments, working with English as a second language students, and assisting the teacher in managing students with behavioral issues in the classroom to help students navigate their feelings.

Rose enjoyed the Service Learning placement at the elementary school, so much so that even after his 45-hour requirement was met he continued volunteering. Now, more than a year later, he is still at the school and has made connections that have helped him forge a path that recently led to a substitute position, with the potential for full-time employment.

“If it wasn't for the Service Learning placement, I wouldn't have gotten this job opportunity. I'm really excited about it because it will help me towards my goal.”

He is grateful for these opportunities and for forming connections with faculty, like Assistant Professor of Social Work, Annie Estvold, who have assisted throughout his academic journey.

“It's clear being in her classes that she has a passion for and a deep knowledge of social work, and the service-learning opportunities that she finds for her classes have been very impactful.”

Ready to graduate from CWI in Spring 2024, Rose plans to continue his social work education and earn a bachelor’s degree at Lewis-Clark State College, with aspirations to then earn a master’s degree at Boise State University. His long-term goal remains steadfast — to become an advocate and support system as an elementary school counselor or school-based social worker.

“CWI has empowered me by helping me to solidify my career path and find the major that was a right fit for me. Because of CWI, I have the tools I need to move forward in my college career.”

For those interested in exploring the possibilities a career in social work can lead to, please visit the Social Work program page or contact Annie Estvold at

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