Introduction to Human Services
Jeffrey, "A Human Services Professional is someone who is a facilitator for someone who is not able or not yet able to deal with issues in a healthy way. I am taking classes so that I can learn how to best help empower people change their situation by believing in themselves. I believe that people have the answers within themselves, but may need help getting in touch with their spiritual or intuitive self. As human services providers, we hopefully strive to model healthy behavior, including the fact that we are human, need support from our peers, and can make mistakes."
"When a client is ready, we educate them to give them an idea of what is destructive behavior, bring to their attention possible consequences of their actions, and suggest ideas or alternatives. Usually a client already knows all this, they just never knew a better way or thought their way of dealing with life was normal. I work on accepting each person where they are in their life, which takes strength. I may be saying in my mind, 'Can't you see your way out of the prison you're in?', but then I remember that I used to be in the same place, and it took years to find my way out. I still struggle with my addiction, and it still affects me, just not so profoundly."
"What I would like to do is work with teenagers. As a teenager, I was befriended by a Young Life leader. He was a man in his 40's and didn't want anything from me but to be my friend. When I drank beer at lunch, he didn't tell me to not drink. I don't remember his words so much as the feeling I got when we were together. He was like a father/friend to me. He seemed to care about me unconditionally. He looked at me like a real human person, which made me uncomfortable, which now looking back, was probably because I wasn't used to that. My own father lived in the same house with me, but he was not emotionally available to me. My own father seemed to think that all women are good for is sex and housekeeping. That scares me when I think of that now. My first husband thought of me only as good for sex, baby making, and housekeeping. I am grateful that I have wised up since then.
My passion is to work in the alternative schools as a tutor or mentor, to help give kids some kind of an idea what life can be about. I may not see results right away, but I do believe that 'being there' for kids is an investment. They may not realize until years later as I did, that someone had a positive affect on their lives." 2
One of my coworkers from Vietnam told me that in her country, the prisoners work for their food. I thought to myself, as I am sure many people have before, that we should try that here in this country. I do not think that sitting in prison really helps anybody. I have heard that there are work camps where the inmates learn a skill or trade so that when the inmates are released into society, they at least have marketable job skills working in their favor.
I think community service should be required as an alternative to jail or prison in some cases. Picking up garbage may seem demeaning, but I know of a city employee who makes a good salary picking up garbage around my neighborhood. Maybe if the people who threw the garbage on the ground had to pick it up, they would care.
Taking classes, GED or college, is popular in prison also. I have a friend who learned computer skills in prison and is now working toward a degree in computer engineering. He is grateful he had the opportunity to take college classes in prison, otherwise he may have never found out how much he enjoys programming computers. It seems to help his self esteem, because he seems gifted in this area and people often ask for his help and advice concerning computers.
I suppose that providing housing for convicted criminals would not cost more than incarceration. It does not seem that imprisonment is much of a deterrent to crime. A Settlement House may seem...
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