Human Services is really one of those fields where you do need to have a lot of knowledge about various aspects of our society's life. And I have certainly learned a lot working at Tompkins Community Action as a Central Intake Associate, which was a position that I was very proud of, since I got it with my own efforts and kept doing good job for two and a half years. I had a rather broad array of responsibilities: HEAP applications, budgeting money for income eligibility, interviewing, counseling, crisis intervention, referrals, case management, data intake, problem solving, codes of ethics, etc. Each one of those tasks has taught me something. Interviewing made me forget about all my previous biases, since the more people I interviewed, the more I realized that all of them are so different that all the possible stereotypes present now in our society are simply wrong. Budgeting money made me learn a lot about finances in general, and about financial aspects of American welfare programs in particular.
Problem solving was the best thing to do, since I learned how to quickly assess almost any situation, come up with alternative solutions for the problem at issue, then set up a reasonable criterion and choose the best alternative based on that very criterion. Learning about social welfare policies was one of the most important aspects of my job; I believe that it is going to help me greatly in Human Services field. Social welfare policies sometimes are rather hard to implement, since there are a lot of obstacles when someone wants to help other people, such as disbelief, prejudice, inability to assess the situation correctly and act accordingly, etc. Nevertheless, social welfare is one of the most important things in helping poor / low income families, since otherwise their lives would become simply unbearable due to the constant lack of money and any opportunities to earn that money on their own. Social welfare policies are divided into a couple of subcategories, and after learning about most of them, one is able to see which ones of those policies are the most efficient in terms of helping people, and that is what Human Services are all about. There are a lot of federal and state programs designed to help poor and low income families, and working at Tompkins Community Action I was able to get to know about most of them.
Some of those programs are designed to help people by means of providing them with money, while others are aimed at encouraging them to change their lives for better, such as various workshops, specialty programs, etc. Learning about those programs are important for my further work in the Human Services field, since I learned how people react to various kinds of incentives, which ones are the best for them and which are simply neglected because they do not motivate at all. I also came to conclusion that state programs aimed at helping people with low incomes and their families are more efficient than federal programs, since at the local level it is much easier to assess the situation, collect all the data required, and later come up with the programs and policies that would help people at your state the most. Federal programs are mainly the same, they do not take into consideration the diversity that takes place from state to state and social conditions in different regions of our country, thus making state programs more efficient.
Overall, working at Tompkins Community Action made me think about various aspects of our society's life and different people that need to be helped by all the means possible. Human services are all about helping people, putting gin your best efforts in order to make sure that poor / low income families are able to change their lives for better at least to some extent. And it is not only the money, but the opportunity to pursue some goal, to try again some new and promising job; it is about the rebirth of hopes and expectations, which is really important for any member of our society.