Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
What do you say to a career drug dealer on the first day of intervention?
"How could you?... Your evil... You NEED TO CHANGE NOW... You are destroying people's lives."
Yeah, good luck with that.
If social work school taught me anything, it is this. You begin with what people do great.
You talk about his entrepreneurship.
You talk about his ambition.
You talk about his work ethic.
You then talk about how he can re-direct his energy to other ventures.
Blaming does not work. No matter how criminal or difficult.
When we start with the strengths of a community, a person, or an organization we no longer have to start from a place of weakness and shame, "Look at me.. I'm such a terrible drug dealing stupid person".
This can sometimes, work. But, its low energy and doesn't last long.
Building on strengths is hard work. It requires you to look for the light no matter how dark.
It requires trusting that someone can do better.
It requires being honest and hopeful all at once.
If you do this already for your clients or customers. Congrats.
Now, apply it to your family and co-workers.
Change starts at home.
Please like us on facebook. We want to add 300 people in 7 days!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
There are manifestos and manuals everywhere on how to change the world. By the looks of things no matter where you are in the country, people are doing more reading+talking than anything else... When I first started my job as "community manager" I skimmed and devoured blogs, books, and webinars on how to be a social media consultant(the new buzz job) and building community. Some of it was nice, some of it was cheesy. Some of it downright sleazy: (pay $3,000 and your first child's left toe to access the secrets of Twitter and Facebook).
As a social worker working for a tech company(remotely) it was easy to feel like a fish out of water.The fear gremlins were out in full force, "this isn't your major... you don't know how to write code...you should be feeding the hungry...how can you not watch the clock all day" and the list goes on and on. All of that is true, but I trust the chaos.
Erine(founder,programmer) and I were talking yesterday about online transparency. The ideal that to be anyone on the internet you must provide unique ideals and not just vomit retweets and recycle other people's stuff. Yet, the net also has this desire to see vulnerable and personal writing. That is what makes blogs famous and who doesn't want to be famous?
There is something powerful in working with people that support your mistakes.
The process is personal, but the progress seems to be in our shared action. The belief that "no matter what" we press onward towards a goal that may appear blurry at times, may appear impossible, but worth all the risk. That is what the research shows without reading the books .
My advice on changing the world(even if you don't need it):
Be Open: Don't look for people who are just like you. Look for people that complement you. My wife always says, "If you always agreed with me, I might as well be married to myself."People who are the best fit, don't always look and sound like your typical partner or supporter.
How have you balanced taking risks(experimenting) and doing research(reading books)?
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Mozart, our Community Manager, worked as a social worker for low-income parents who needed a job or training last year in Denver.
He was talking about house chores and time management in a life skills class one day when a small woman in the back of the class, Lydia*, spoke up,"How the heck am I going to do house chores when I've been homeless for 3 weeks... I need somewhere to sleep".
What she didn't say was how she had been eating dollar store snacks with her ten-year old daughter. All of the shelters nearby were booked which received women and kids.
Mozart, got on the phone with a couple of social workers around town. Hoping to find anyone who knew of a shelter with a clean sheets, a hot meal, and that took adults and kids. After a Google search and 2 hours of phone conversations he finally found a place. Lydia got the phone number, address, and contact info for the shelter and it looked like a happy ending.
The shelter wanted to help people, but they didn't have an easy way for people to get in touch. Many times, its takes a professional degree just to get a warm bed for someone in need. Aunt Bertha wants to take the gates off of help. We want to live in a world where people can access needed services via the internet at ease, with the help of a friend or social worker, at the library, their home, or maybe even on their phone. One piece of paper shouldn't be the difference between whether or not someone eats or sleeps in a safe place.
Helping people can be easy.
Aunt Bertha wants to help.. .and ....We need your help!
Sign up to help Aunt Bertha here
How can we make access to need-based services easy?