Updated: Feb 5
Doing the Community Based Work
School has started and, for most families, the stress of juggling work, multiple school schedules, and the various rules for social distancing has yet to reach a breaking point. Yet, for many families this time poses additional challenges. Work hours have been reduced, people have been furloughed, and household incomes are suffering to the point that some families can no longer afford to pay for basic necessities.
In times of great stress community support is essential to our health and well-being.
We know that our social networks matter, but it’s easy to discount the value our social capital adds to our lives until we really need it. For those with limited resources or fractured social networks, reliance on “the system” is often a necessity, and sometimes a crippling one.
The social workers, mental health workers, and other community based organizations provide for the basic welfare of many disenfranchised people. Social workers not only coordinate services for clients, like housing and food assistance, they sometimes treat mental and behavioral disorders, and they often arrange treatment for things like addiction and substance abuse so that clients can avoid being in a situation that might lead to incarceration. In addition, social workers are generally the first line of defense in domestic issues like abuse and neglect, often working closely with the foster care system to ensure the safety and welfare of children.
The bias we have toward people from different backgrounds, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, often prevents us from developing systems of community support.
Addressing that bias, head on, is some of the hardest work we can do.