Help Yourself

26 09 2008

Maria and I have really felt called lately to get more involved with helping the homeless.  We decided to hook up with Good Works in Athens, Ohio. In their own words Good Works is:

“A community of hope for those struggling with poverty in rural Appalachia. We provide biblical hospitality through The Timothy House (our shelter for the rural homeless), The Hannah House (our long term residential care-community), job experience programs, creative volunteer service opportunities and community development ministries in the context of Christian Community.”

Last Friday, Maria and I took a tour of their grounds and got a brief overview of what they do.  I was amazed at all the programs they have and how they are able to do so much with so little.  However what really impressed me was their philosophy and approach to how they serve.  The very people they serve are the ones who maintain the GW mission.  For instance, GW has car donation program.  If a person wants to recieve a car from GW, they need to earn 24 points.  You earn points by spending an afternoon maintaining the grounds, serving at one of the houses or working one of the many other programs they have.  Instead of being a place where people can come and find help, they can come and find how they can help themselves.  This is a much less degrading process, and shows the individuals that they can take control and responsibility of their own lives.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that this is what social media is all about.  Helping people help themselves.  No longer are we dependent on “experts” to explain how things work, we now have the power to discover on our own with the help of other people just like us.  Again, this has become a less degrading process and has encouraged a whole new generation of responsible consumers.