Friday, June 30, 2000

Program Philosophy

From House to Home
Originally published in The KC SAC Connection, issue 1: summer 2000
David Whitaker, Toolbox Training

My wife Becky and I have volunteered a couple of times for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat’s mission is to build houses for low-income families that might not otherwise be able to afford them. Becky and I recently saw a speaker who talked about House of Belief, an offshoot program of Habitat that helps homeowners reflect their personalities and interests through interior decorating. Much as Habitat expects homeowners to actively participate in the building of their homes, House of Belief wants owners to design their homes.

The speaker commented that her role was not to be the creative force that drives the design of the home, but to help homeowners discover their own creativity so that they can design the home themselves. To paraphrase one Habitat homeowner, a house doesn’t become a home until its owner has a hand in creating it. Similarly, our children’s SAC programs will not become theirs unless we let them have a hand in creating them.

We must remind ourselves that in our work with children, it is not our job to design the program for the children, but to help children discover their own creativity so that they can make the program meet their needs. We must allow our programs to become their programs.

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