social work quotes

Top 100 Social Work Quotes: Fueling Inspiration for Change

The profession of social work is as challenging as it is rewarding, often requiring a great deal of compassion, resilience, and determination. To foster motivation and reflection within this critical field, “social work quotes” from influential figures and philosophies can offer inspiration and wisdom. These words of encouragement can serve as a beacon, illuminating the path of service to others.

Inspiring Social Work Quotes

  1. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  2. “The greatest ethical test that we’re ever going to face is the treatment of those who are at our mercy.” – Lyn White
  3. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  4. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  5. “Every person is worth understanding, not on our terms, but on theirs.” – Bonnie Badenoch
  6. “Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose a future.” – Albert Camus
  7. “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
  8. “Competence starts with understanding what you don’t know.” – Anonymous
  9. “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” – Mohsin Hamid
  10. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” – Harper Lee
  11. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
  12. “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
  13. “People are capable of making their own choices and developing their own lives. Our job is to provide the conditions that enable people to grow.” – Grace Coyle
  14. “Never underestimate your ability to make someone else’s life better – even if you never know it.” – Greg Louganis
  15. “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer
  16. “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  17. “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius
  18. “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela
  19. “What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.” – Martina Horner
  20. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

Famous Social Work Quotes

  1. “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” – Mother Teresa
  2. “Social work is the art of listening and the science of hope.” – Unknown
  3. “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” – Mother Teresa
  4. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
  5. “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams
  7. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
  8. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  9. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa
  10. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
  11. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
  12. “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  13. “The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” – William James
  14. “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez
  15. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” – Thurgood Marshall
  16. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  17. “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  18. “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
  19. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
  20. “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan

Motivational Social Work Quotes

Motivational Social Work

  1. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  2. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
  3. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
  4. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
  5. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  7. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” – Mother Teresa
  8. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  9. “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James
  10. “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
  11. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  12. “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.” – W. Clement Stone
  13. “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson
  14. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
  15. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
  16. “The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you.” – Tom Bradley
  17. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
  18. “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali
  19. “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson
  20. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Appreciation for Social Work Quotes

  1. “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou
  2. “Social workers are angels walking the earth in disguise.”
  3. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
  4. “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill
  5. “Social workers are a unique breed of people. They are willing to walk in the dark, alone if they have to, just to make sure nobody else has to.”
  6. “Not all superheroes wear capes, some are social workers.”
  7. “Social workers plant seeds of kindness, hope, and love that grow forever.”
  8. “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa
  9. “A truly great social worker is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget.”
  10. “Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
  11. “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” – John F. Kennedy
  12. “Social workers are a voice for those who may not know how to, or are unable to, speak.”
  13. “Blessed are the social workers for they shall inherit the heart of humanity.”
  14. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
  15. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
  16. “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” – Booker T. Washington
  17. “We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll
  18. “Social workers touch lives in ways that are often unseen, but always felt.”
  19. “The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen, and hands willing to help.”
  20. “Thank you, social workers, for turning wounds into wisdom.”

Funny Social Work Quotes

  1. “I’m a Social Worker. I solve problems you don’t know you have in ways you can’t understand.”
  2. “Be a Social Worker they said, it will be fun they said.”
  3. “Behind every successful social worker is a substantial amount of coffee.”
  4. “Social workers: helping people one crisis at a time.”
  5. “I used to have a social life, then I became a social worker.”
  6. “Just another day at the office – said no social worker ever.”
  7. “Social work: one of the few professions where you can tell someone to go to hell and they look forward to the trip.”
  8. “First rule of social work: don’t swap your pen for your magic wand.”
  9. “Be nice to social workers, they could be the last person you see before the psych ward.”
  10. “Social workers are like muffins in a world of cupcakes.”
  11. “Welcome to Social Work – where even the paperwork is emotional.”
  12. “I’m a Social Worker. What’s your superpower?”
  13. “My daily routine: Wake up, be awesome, go back to sleep.”
  14. “Stress level: Social Worker with no coffee.”
  15. “Being a social worker is easy. It’s like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire, you’re on fire, everything is on fire.”
  16. “Why don’t social workers play hide and seek? Because good luck hiding when there’s paperwork to do.”
  17. “If Social Workers were paid by the amount of patience they have, we’d all be billionaires.”
  18. “On the eighth day, God created Social Workers.”
  19. “When ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ doesn’t work, we switch to ‘Scream and Wave Your Arms Around’.”
  20. “Sometimes I wish my first words were ‘quote’ so the last thing I say before I die could be ‘end quote.'”


These poignant and thought-provoking social work quotes serve as reminders of why social workers do what they do, despite the challenges they face. They encourage all to reflect on their practice, foster empathy, build resilience, and understand the immense impact of their work. May they inspire you as you continue your journey in social work.

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