The communities we live in remain a part of our lives for decades. You can take a person out of their community, but never the community out of the said person. These are some of the most critical social microcosms that exist in society.
Without communities, our children would not receive adequate socialization, and adults wouldn’t have peers to spend time with. Especially for ethnic and racial minorities, the community acts as a refuge from the majority.
However, there is no denying that certain parts of society fall victim to dysfunctional practices as well. Illnesses and anti-social behavior may form in these areas, and before you know it, you will start to see a pattern forming.
For example, drug abuse starts with one person and then spreads like an infectious disease.
Community development is a highly challenging task for the local government, and social workers are usually their first line of offense.
Social workers play a pivotal role in shaping a community and making it better. Here are some ways that social workers play their part and improve communities within society.
Narrowing down on the issue
One of the most common issues for the local government is pinpointing the exact issues that a community faces. For example, drug abuse is a problem because there is easy access, the community members are stressed, or members are promoting the substance.
To find a solution to the issue, it’s best to cut off the root of the problem. However, to the untrained eye, this can be easier said than done.
A social worker is considerably better equipped than the average Joe. With the rise in online education, many have degrees that can help them tackle community-related issues, like an online social work master degree, which gives you the chance to play a crucial role in society.
Going in blind and expecting to come out victorious over the societal issue will lead to failure. Study the community, pick out the problematic areas and address the main points first. Your master’s degree could give you the knowledge and experience you need to change society as we know it.
Anger issues, drug abuse, and other anti-social behavior often have a psychological root. It would be best to talk to the individuals responsible rather than sending them straight to jail. We need to understand that some people behave the way they do because they aren’t heard.
A history of abuse often leads to a person developing undesirable traits and engaging in illegal activity.
State-funded counseling sessions are the best way to reach out to the community and touch base with them.
Bridging the communication gap and giving these individuals the idea that they are heard is one of the best things you can do for their future. A combination of catharsis and therapeutic intervention can go a long way in assisting community development and bringing positive societal change.
The field of psychology is multiplying, and there is a place for even the most troubled individual. A counseling social worker can help hundreds of community members achieve more and become fully functional society members.
Seeking local government assistance
A sole social worker doesn’t stand a chance in changing an entire community. One person can’t change the mindset of a whole group unless they have the means to support their claims.
Social workers are on their own for far too long, and even though we expect them to bring changes to our society, we don’t give them the tools they need to make it happen.
The government plays a significant part in working towards community development. Without proper funding and resource allocation, don’t expect any evident changes any time soon. If you want to see results fast, put all your resources at these social workers’ disposal and watch how fast things fall into place.
It’s simply unfair and unrealistic to assume that change will come in isolation. The government has a part to play, and once they start rising to the occasion, things will start falling into place a lot faster.
Educating the public
One of the best ways to break through to community members is by educating them about things you think are essential. For example, in communities where you feel single-parent families, and teenage pregnancies are common, educate them on safe sex.
Similarly, with drug abuse, teach the individuals how to overcome the addiction and help them enroll in rehab facilities that could get them clean for good.
You may be surprised to learn that your message is entirely foreign to many community members. Especially in working-class neighborhoods, senior generations may be as unaware as current ones. It’s essential to reach out and talk to these people.
Therefore, a holistic education process is needed for the entire community rather than isolating it towards the youth only.
Education is one of the most important societal institutions. Not only does it give us a sense of direction, but the reflective value that it provides to millions of people is priceless.
Don’t rush it
These are people that have been practicing the same way for generations. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and don’t expect these communities to change in one either. Your efforts won’t be in vain, but they certainly won’t change a community in a matter of days and weeks.
It will take a fair deal of time, and rushing things is probably not the best way to go about it. Stay focused, don’t give up, and keep driving home the point you are trying to make. Community development takes time but remaining consistent is a critical factor in the entire effort.
Social workers are people too, and they might want to see fast results for their hard work. However, that’s not how things work. Keep your expectations accurate and watch how things play out over time.
Tackling an entire community as a sub-set of society is highly challenging. We have discussed several factors that you can consider concerning development, from narrowing down the issue to pacing yourself and letting things take their natural time.
These factors can go a long way in changing society for the better.
It would be best if we took a minute to appreciate the social workers who do so much for our society. Without them, many small communities would not have seen the kind of development that they did.