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Family of Woodstock Paper

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Family of Woodstock, Inc.
Chatisha Bridgeman
BSHS 355
July 5, 2015
Melody Gaereths

Family of Woodstock, Inc. Paper
The field of human services is essentially designed to help people in need and to provide them with support and tools and resources which will allow them to find their way through various crisis or chronic situations. For some individuals the situations that they may need assistance with include coping with the loss of a job or income, meeting basic needs including the need for food, shelter or clothing or help out of a dangerous situation. For other individuals the challenges that they may be facing may be internal such as depression, a physical illness or disability or some other mental or physical health crisis. Throughout history, many people and events have influenced both the development and direction of the human services field. Human services agencies across the country have been formed out of the passion and desire of community members who want to help others and provide them with the tools and resources to live healthy and productive lives. Family of Woodstock, Inc. is one of those organizations with a long and rich history of helping people.

The Creation of the Family of Woodstock, Inc.

The Family of Woodstock, Inc. began in 1970. The founders created the agency based upon the beliefs that each individual is entitled to food, clothing and shelter. The Family of Woodstock maintains a non-judgmental mentality as the organization continues to help those in need. As their mission statement says, "We maintain an attitude which is non-judgmental and non-directive, so that all individuals are encouraged to resolve problems in a way that honors their own diverse cultural and personal choices." While remaining non-judgmental, the Family of Woodstock created unification among the helper and those in need of help. This organization is able to provide services for those in need while creating a resource which improves the quality of life in a diverse manner. As Woodstock has continues to grow since the beginning of the organization, it has allowed for a number of services to be provided all under one umbrella. Woodstock continues its commitment to provide the base community resources for those who seek help. The basic factor that really played a part in the creation of Family of Woodstock was the festival named Woodstock itself. In part it was a concert put together by four men who were trying to make millions, but eventually due to hardships on the town and relocating, 50 thousand individuals were camped out before the start of the concert forcing the organizers to proclaim it a free concert due to lack of security and other reasons. By the start of the concert it was estimated that 500,000 individuals had arrived and another 500,000 being forced to turn back (Rosenberg, 2015). Due to the popularity of the concert and the overabundance of individuals there, the local streets were becoming a problem. Young adolescents were sleeping on benches and tables in the town, people were hitchhiking than becoming stranded, and camping out in parking lots and the adolescents were forced to seek food, clothing, and shelter with no money of their own. This is when a member of the town Gail Varsi opened her home and phone line to help these individuals out, she organized food drives, clothing exchange, and in some cases provided transportation for these trouble individuals to return home. She was the root that started this movement and to this day her original telephone number is still being used from 1969 (Gifford). Without her selfishness programs like these would never have any substance to get started. The little quiet town of Woodstock received an influx of both needy & homeless children after a festival ("Woodstock") in the 1960s, searching for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. A town citizen by the name of Gail Varsi took action once she saw the need. The text goes on to paint a picture of services Gail began to offer to these children and how the Family of Woodstock was established. With the adolescent problems related to independent living, homelessness, broken and dysfunctional homes including domestic violence and sexual abuse, they were "the basis for the Midway Program". (Burger, 2011, ch, 3) At present there are two homes; each house has 6 adolescents aged 16-20. For one and a half to two years under a program, adolescents are offered shelter, (own furnished rooms with cable television, kitchens, bathrooms) case management, (for consultation, transportation, appointments, referrals) Life Skills Management (provides assistance with daily living skills that include communication and relationship building). Staff personnel takes turns on shifts to maintain 24 hour coverage. These are just some of the methods to how The Family of Woodstock helps those in need.
The delivery of human services is now a specialized field. There are a number of programs available for people who may need assistance. These programs include substance abuse, advice, treatment, and lodging among others. The reason that it has become specialized is that health centers sought to use personnel in more innovative way (Burger, 2011). This allows counselors to work more directly with their clients, which in turn helps to meet their needs better. As our society changes with technology, so must the delivery of human services. Specialization helps to keep human services up to date with the new levels of stress, anxiety, and insecurity that have been created as a result.
“What is different, is that new methods and approaches are needed to deal with them in our highly complex and technological society.” (Burger, 2011, ch. 3) Specialization has become a trend because though we continue to deal with the issues of mental illness, substance abuse, homeless, and hunger, the methods we’ve used have become outdated and ineffective.
In conclusion human services are important to allow all members of our society feel wanted, appreciated, and part of the community. But it has to start somewhere in the case of family of Woodstock it took a concerned citizen by the name of Gail Varsi to help young individuals to recover from their ordeal. In essence these people were strangers and instead of turning her back she showed enough compassion to help them along with her community. Now over 40 years have passed and her ideals are a teaching guideline to all human service providers alike. Everything has a beginning and Gail Varsi was Woodstock’s.

References

Burger, W. R. (2011). Human Services in Contemporary America (8th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Rosenberg, J. (n.d.). The Woodstock Festival of 1969. Retrieved July 5, 2015, 2015, from http://history1900s.about.com/od/1960s/p/woodstock.htm

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