The Starfish Story

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a girl picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the girl, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The girl replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“My daughter,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The little girl looked down in disappointment. Then she bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. She turned to the man, smiled, and said:

“But I made a difference for that one.”

The Starfish Story has often been used as an example and inspiration for social workers across the country. Dr. Michael Riley, head of Orange County Social Services Agency, often used it to inspire social workers in the important work they do in our community. We are grateful for the human services efforts of our County and all the pieces of the puzzle that go into helping our families.

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