The first thing a new social work student learns is that the most effective form of “therapy” for your client has nothing to do with psychological theory; rather, it all depends on if your client perceives that you genuinely CARE about him or her. Having somebody honor you as a valued human being, and their belief that you are capable of success have been proven by scientists to inspire people towards positive change in their lives. Think about that for a minute. Now consider how these people might feel when they are labeled as losers, freeloaders, and lazy bums. The downtrodden probably ask themselves, “why should I care what anybody thinks?”
The Kansas City Community Kitchen understood this, so they decided it was time to update their service delivery method. In fact, anybody who walks into this diner would be surprised to find out that it is a soup kitchen for the homeless. The food is top notch, as is the customer service. The message: you are worthy of a good meal in a dignified setting because we care about you health and your spirit. Isn’t that a refreshing message? It could set a tone for the rest of one’s day towards hope instead of apathy or despair, especially in a society that has little tolerance for their existence.
I really hope this inspiring service delivery model becomes a trend because the traditional narrow human service methods are based on crisis’ rather than opportunities. By the way, those rude Facebook comments meant to blame and shame the less fortunate are spreading hopelessness, feeding a cycle of despair, and paralyzing people from pressing forward. Perhaps it’s time to quit telling ourselves, “thank God that didn’t happen to me,” and to begin telling ourselves, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”