Organizing for Social Change

I found this week’s readings to be very insightful and informative. The dialectic that stood out to me most was that of dissemination and dialogue. This specific dialectic reminded me of several cases I’ve witnessed while working in my current internship. The internship, which I’m participating in through another class (PUBA 401- I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in public service) is with Durham Early Head Start. If you haven’t heard of the Head Start programs, this one in particular provides subsidized childcare and health, family and education services to low-income families in the Durham area. Though the situations vary, most of the families who receive services from this organization are very poor and disadvantaged. Some of them are out of work, some are homeless, some are worrying with legal matters such as deportation, and some are struggling to finish high school or high college. The one thing these families all have in common, however, is that they are seeking out DEHS for services to better the lives of their child(ren). What has struck me as the most odd in my time at this internship is not the lack of resources to meet the needs of these families, but the lack of awareness that such resources exist. More often than not, the DEHS staff can have a conversation with a parent or guardian, assess their situation, and immediately connect them with the resources they are in need of whether that be a health clinic or specialist or a scholarship program or simply a subsidized bus pass. I have come to realize that these people need not face the circumstances they are in with despair and hopelessness as we so often see, they need only an advocate to explain that the resources are available to assist them. Given the knowledge and understanding that people receive from DEHS, they can go on to better the lives of their family. DEHS is not there to maniuplate their clients into belieiving that they are disadvantaged for some purpose or by their own fault as we see often in society, but to advocate on their behalf and open lines of communication (dialogue) that can faciliate social change.

Here is the link to the Durham Early Head Start website if you are interested in more information: http://www.dpfc.net/EarlyHeadStart.aspx

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