“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Leading social change

I was reviewing an article I wrote with Jennifer Baca that was published in 2013. In that piece, we comment on an article by Hutchinson published in 1990. The author describes six new roles for professionals in human services. Here is how we translated those proposed roles.
"A 1990 paper by Hutchison proposed six new roles for professionals in human services.
First, formal services should recognize their limitations for relationship development and rely more on connecting people with informal community groups.
Second, rely less on getting people into programs exclusively for persons with disabilities which rarely lead to development of community relationships.
Third, traditional volunteer programs should be evaluated and changed to be better vehicles for friendship development.
Fourth, attempt to develop more reliance on community members for “services” rather than being completely reliant on paid services.
Fifth, remove segregation in services such that there would be enhanced possibilities of participation with community members.
Sixth, recognize the limitations of human service professionals to actually facilitate friendships, looking instead to age peers, community members with common interests, and others who are already community-connected.
McNair (2008) described the church as playing the role described by Hutchison (1990) in the community. Human service workers would be wise to consider employing churches in their efforts to develop friendships for their clients."
(Baca & McNair, 2013 based on Hutchinson, 1990)

The church offers so much potential for facilitating microcosms of social change, reflecting the direction and vision we have for the larger society in the future. As we embrace inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Christian community, we have the incredible opportunity to demonstrate the way things should be. We can do the six things listed above. We have the potential to not just be relevant in the societal change that inclusion would bring, we could be the leaders.  We should be the leaders!


Hutchison, B. (1990). A qualitative study of the friendships of people with disabilities. In B. J. A. Smale (Ed.), Leisure challenges: Bringing people, resources and policy into play. Proceedings of the Sixth Canadian Congress on Leisure Research, May 9-12, 1990. Ontario, Canada: Ontario Research Council on Leisure. Retrieved from http://lin.ca/Uploads/cclr6/CCLR6-12.pdf 


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed learning about Leading Social Change and the six ideas McNair described to help social change. One that stood out to me was not relying on paid services and get help from volunteers. Also it is important not to just rely on people with disabilities to be involved and invite all kinds of people with different ages. We can make a difference with ourselves with leading social change and being an advocate for all people! Let's do our part people!

Anonymous said...

This passage was interesting to read because it brought to my attention that corporations such as human services, truly do not take into account the disabled community to its full extent. In my opinion, these six new roles for human services are truly simple things that could be done showing me that human services is not really doing much for the disabled community. The role that stuck out to me the most is the third role in which it talked about how volunteer programs should be evaluated and changed to be better vehicles for friendship development. This concerned me because volunteer opportunities are typically where friendships are started because you often are working close to other people and talking is a natural outcome. To me, the fact that we have to remind human services to change volunteer opportunities to be more friendship oriented should not be something we should be asking them to incorporate. I hope that this blog leads to change by showing enough people that we as a community are the ones that bring the biggest difference. What we change in our life will reflect on our community.