For my community service, I worked at a homeless shelter that provided thirty-six beds, showering facilities, and a washing machine to everyone, who checked in before. The shelter also provides lawyer and social worker consultations for one hour during the day. The homeless people can rest in the shelter from 8 p.m. until 9 a.m. and come for consultations between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. The shelter also provides one hot meal in the evening and a light breakfast in the morning per person. Every Monday, the shelter gives out personal hygiene items to those in need. The shelter also organizes outreach and humanitarian work during the day to ensure that homeless people in the community know about the shelter and the services it provides.
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During my service, I participated in a humanitarian program conducted every week. Every Saturday, the shelter provides hot meals to everyone in the local park. During the program, the volunteers give away food and information to the homeless people about the shelter. The volunteers also give handouts with information about the different needs of the shelter to all people in the area to encourage private donations. These donations help to finance the shelter’s outreach and humanitarians programs. Currently, the shelter plans to start giving out hot meals on Wednesdays due to the COVID-19 situation. Thus, the activity I participated in was both a humanitarian and outreach program.
Jane, the manager of the program, demonstrated a wide range of leadership values, which were crucial for the success of the program. First, she was guided by the principle of respect for all people regardless of their age, sex, race, or socio-economic position, which is central according to Mitchell (2015). She treated every person passing by in the park with the same respect she treated the volunteers. Second, she was guided by the principle of humility, which was demonstrated by a sense of humbleness, dignity, and an awareness of her limitations. Finally, she was committed to making a difference in the community to improve the well-being of every person around her.
These values were also demonstrated by Michael depicted in the Heart City scenario. He treated the young people with respect even though they were unfriendly to him in the beginning. Michael was also committed to making a difference in the community, as he achieved the desired goal regardless of the circumstances. However, the Heart City case scenario did not reveal Michael’s acknowledgment of his limitations. Thus, the leadership values demonstrated by Jane were different.
In general, even though the Heart City case scenario also described an outreach program by a homeless shelter, my experience was different from that described in the scenario. First, the target audiences of the programs were different. While Michael and his team targeted teenagers, our program targeted mostly adults. Second, in the Heart City scenario, the teenagers were hostile in the beginning, as they did not know who Michael was. In my experience, homeless people waited for Jane and her team to arrive, as it was a recurrent program. Almost everyone was grateful for the provided services. Finally, the program I participated in also targeted people who were not homeless to seek private donations. In the scenario, Michael did not address the community to raise additional funds.
The analysis of the case scenario contributed to my understanding of leadership in humanitarian and outreach programs. In particular, I realized the importance of leadership for the outcomes, as the majority of stakeholders are shy and do not how to approach each other. People may seem unfriendly or awkward in the beginning; however, an experienced leader can improve this situation. I also realized the role of an advanced human service professional is to address the specific needs of the target population and improve the well-being of the entire community. This is why I want to follow the career path of an advanced human service practitioner.
Mitchell, G. E. (2015). The attributes of effective NGOs and the leadership values associated with a reputation for organizational effectiveness. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 26(1), 39-57.