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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a very new soul

So yesterday night after work (Lush) I had a hankering sweet tooth (what else is new.) I stopped over to Starbucks to pick up a little pastry. To my wonder and surpise they had this wonderful little treat known as a rainbow cookie which had M&M's in it, I mean that sounds good right?
It was beyond bad, it was very thick and not even in a creamy gooey way. As I was eating it an I thought, man this would only be a good cookie with some coffee. Imagine that, a pastry at Starbucks that would only taste good with coffee. So that got me to thinking about the our society as a whole.
In the world of business and suprisingly non-profits as well, there is a focus on serving to customers rather than serving to people. Insteading of creating goods and services that empower people and give them the ability to make choices, we create goods and services that make people dependent on things and engulf them in this cycle of buy buy buy or take take take. It's one of the reasons I've enjoyed working at Lush, because we serve people not customers. We give them products that are made with ethical ingredients that will free them rather than trap them in a consumer cycle. You know most lotions have added filler chemicals that actually make the skin drier so that you constantly need to apply. You then use up the bottle and surprise surprise your back for more.
The same thing can happen in the non-profit sector as well. We create services, programs and service projects that serve clients rather than people. Through that language and mindset, we trap people in a dependent cycle on what we're shelving out. We'd be more effective as a whole if we learn to serve people, all of their needs and thier ability to be empowered. Again, why I love NSP. I believe it has that ability, it's apart of our mission:
NSP’s mission is to direct the energy and innovation of young people toward ensuring that all community members have access to the services, opportunities, and attention that they need to pursue employment, self-sufficiency, and personal success.
With each of my clients I try to think, how do I get them to become empowered and not dependent. How am I approaching them or servicing them and what effect will this have on their long term ability to succeed?
It's daunting never the less.

So the astronauts and astronomers, keep thinking, I'll blog it later.
Our client flow has definetely picked up and there is still so much work to be done with recruitment and preparing for training. I live by to-do lists or I would never get anything done or time or at all. I get sidetracked very easily with new ideas for something else while I'm working on a project.
I once went back to my high school and, at the time, I was really interested in becoming a social worker. I told one of my teachers this and she very diplomaticly told me that that wouldn't be the right career for me. She said that I would be consistetly frustrated with what I saw and what I knew and wouldn't have the ability, in that position, to make the change I could and wanted to make. She couldn't have been more right. I love what I do, but every day is so frustrating because I think, with all the manpower and all the services and all the focus why hasn't more been done effectively. Because I know that things have been done, money spent, time invested but effectively. The US census press release on poverty came out yesterday http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/010583.html if you're interested. Sidetrack, anyway.
I had a client yesterday who wanted so badly to get out of the situation he was in, but harsh reality is that no matter how much he believes in himself or how much ability he has, their are so many forces against him. We as a community can fight them though, we have to.

Quote: If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin. Charles Darwin

Quote (2): It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them. Bill Vaughan

Quote (3): The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied...but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. John Berger

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