Passion, Compassion, and Integrity


I posted a status on my social media accounts a few days ago that read, “A degree can’t produce passion, compassion, and integrity.” I received quite a few “Likes”, retweets, and interesting comments.  The responses I received made me really think about what that statement means to me and led me to write this blog post.

Let me begin by saying that I am one hundred percent pro education.  Education encourages research and critical thinking and opens doors of opportunity.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Social Work to support my theories.  At the end of 2011 I came to the firm conclusion that The Teen Toolbox work will focus on improving the quality of life for youth involved in the foster care and child welfare system.  Actually, foster care is not really a new path or target population for me.  In fact, participation in a holiday drive for a residential facility for teen mothers in foster care during my senior year in high school is what helped solidify my career choice. The other option on the table was education. Yep, I was considering becoming a teacher. (Didn’t I tell you that I am pro education?)  My passion for helping others, compassionate personality, and personal integrity led me to pursue higher education and more specifically the field of social work.

Thanks to my education, my professional skills are built on a firm foundation.  My decisions and strategies are based on research and best practices.  My degrees prove that I am more than a warm-hearted “do-gooder”.  (No, I am not bashing warm-hearted “do-gooders”.  In fact we could use more of them in the world.)  I received a wonderful education that I value very much but my degrees are not what make me a dynamic Case Manager, Program Director, or Community Organizer.  My education has enhanced the character traits that I believe are needed to succeed in the human services arena.  As a college graduate, my dedication, resourcefulness, and empathy have been packaged with a solid professional network and concrete credentials that allow my confidence and competence to shine bright.

I would love to know what the phrase means to you.  Please share your comments with us.


Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer

The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.

Comments 2

  • I agree, “A degree CAN Not produce passion, compassion, and integrity.” This has to be the will of the individual. A persons will can and is very likely to be changed based on who they associate themselves with. As an advocate for entrepreneurship youth and adult, but especially youth entrepreneurship, there has to be a passion tied to the interest of the business, compassion for the customer and integrity to who the product or service is being offered. These things do not come from having a degree alone. These things are produced from within and are honed overtime so that one wants to have these attributes as part of their character. It comes from the internal make-up of each individual and an identical duplication of such characteristics are often rare however, similarities can be extremely close in proximity to someone else in the same industry.

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