Social Capital: The Key to Macro Change

Social Capital: The Key to Macro Change

Al Condeluci, Ph.D. and Jeff Fromknecht, MSW/JD

Shifting from the “micro” model found in so many policies and procedures that approach the person with a physical, mental, or emotional disability as “the problem,” this new book on social capital by Condeluci and Fromknecht offers a “macro” approach for human services in the community and for people with disabilities. By helping people find their commonality, disabilities matter less. This is an essential book for any provider or organization involved in clinical care, residential services, and support services. It will challenge readers to self-examine their policies and program models and recognize that we are all interdependent.

Social Capital is also available as an eBook click here.

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Full Description

Condeluci and Fromknecht take a strategic look at the interdependent paradigm, how it manifests, and what sets it apart from micro or clinical efforts. Social capital is the essence of this paradigm and the authors explore why relationships are so important in a community. They challenge individuals and organizations to shift to an interdependent paradigm, how you might invest more in social capital, and how you can measure success by tracking social capital related outcomes. But what does this all mean? Colleagues across North America share the impact of their work, especially when using a macro perspective, and explore future implications. Condeluci and Fromknecht offer ways to implement strategies, ideas, suggestions, and recommendations on how you as an individual or your organization collectively, can understand the power and potency of social capital and move to a more viable paradigm.

Details
Item SOCA
ISBN# 9781931117777
Pages 142
Year 2014

Authors

Al Condeluci, PhD

A lifelong resident of the Pittsburgh area. Al Condeluci received his masters and doctorate degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. For the past 40 years Al has been associated with CLASS, a full service nonprofit organization supporting people with disabilities, where he currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. Al holds faculty appointments with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and School of Social Work. Al serves as a consultant, collaborator and lectures extensively around the country often on material from his books, Interdependence (1991, 1995), Beyond Difference (1996), Cultural Shifting (2002), Advocacy for Change (2004), and Together is Better (2008). Al and his wife, Liz, have 3 children, Dante, Gianna and Santino. They live on the family “hill” in McKees Rocks PA with some 17 other Condeluci families.


Jeffrey Fromknecht, MSW, JD.

Jeff is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Side Project Inc (sideprojectinc.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting charitable and philanthropic efforts large and small. Our team provides legal and professional services to socially-minded people and organizations. Jeff is licensed to practice law in both Pennsylvania and Florida and splits his time between Pittsburgh, PA and Boynton Beach, FL.

Jeff holds graduate degrees in both social work and law and has over 12 years of experience working at nonprofit organizations in a variety of direct service and administrative roles. Most recently, Jeff worked as a community partner at Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) in Pittsburgh, where he developed and evaluated programs designed to help people with disabilities to build social capital. He has developed several presentations and has co-authored two published articles related to the community engagement – The Critical Nature of Social Capital and Social Capital: A View from the Field.

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Why Social Capital?

  • The Importance of Social Capital
  • Social Capital is the Product of Relationships
  • Social Capital Improves Health
  • Social Capital is a Key Ingredient for a Successful Life
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 2: The Interdependent Paradigm

    • Introduction
    • The Problem
    • Core of the Problem
    • Action of the Paradigm
    • Develop Supports
    • Systematic and Macro Approaches to Change
    • The Right to Risk
    • Conclusion
    • Chapter 3: Interdependence and Social Capital at your Organization

      • Culture Change
      • Staff Training and Support
      • Person Centered Supports
      • Role Competency Enhancement
      • Supplemental Supports
      • Macro Change
      • Chapter 4: Investing In Social Capital

        • Find the Passion or Point of Connection
        • Find the Venue or Connection Point
        • Understand the Elements of Culture
        • Find or Enlist the Gatekeeper
        • Chapter 5: Evaluating the Social Capital/ Interdependence Model

          • Social Capital as an Outcome
          • Interview Administration
          • 2012 Social Capital Interview Results
          • Limitations of Approach
          • Chapter 6: Social Capital in Action

            • Social Capital: What are the community CLUES? by Dr. Janet Williams, MSW, Ph.D., President, communityworks inc
            • Social Capital, Rehabilitation Professionals and Brain Injury: Independence to Interdependence by Jill Koppang, RN, CRRN, M.Ed, CONNECT Communities and Patti Flaherty, Executive Director, CONNECT Communities
            • Social Capital and Community Membership by Rex Zimmerman, VP of Programs and Services, Hope Services
            • Social Capital: Working Towards a Community that is Open to All by Jamie Curran, Manager-Outcome Support Team, Community Living Mississauga
            • Social Capital Success Story: A Personal Reflection by Jamie Curran, Manager-Outcome Support Team, Community Living Mississauga
            • A New Focus for an Old Program; John F. Murphy Homes by Marti Howard, Quality Programs, JFM Homes
            • Chapter 7: Social Capital/Interdependence in the Future

              • The Role of Social Media
              • The Need to Meet

              Conclusion

              Epilogue

Excerpts

INTRODUCTION


Always desire to learn something useful.” Sophocles


Concepts and philosophy, especially the ones that an individual (or organization) holds dear, set a defining tone. And although it is not always common place, each of us can (and probably should) take inventory of what we believe about life in general and why. Of course, most of this searching does not happen often, or it only happens at unique junctures, and so we can lumber through life and work not very attached or focused on the deeper things that matter—or we just take these things for granted.

This book is about relationships—social capital—and it is indeed a concept that seems so basic that one need not reflect on it too much, as if its simplicity has little depth. Yet there is nothing further from the truth. In a Zen-type way, it is the simple things that have the most amount of depth and, consequently, matter very much. Such is the case with relationships and the resulting social capital.

Slowly, we are getting a handle on this phenomenon, but most of us with interest enough in reading a book like this know that if or when a person is confronted with vulnerability, he or she can often shift from the bosom of community into the world of formal systems. Friends can drift away—maybe because they are uncomfortable with the new situation—but this exodus creates a powerful void. Paid or volunteer caretakers then often take over for these friendships and the person gets wrapped into a system of formality that is never the same as the potency of natural relationships….

In a way, this book is the culmination of both a personal and organizational voyage. It is not about the destinations, mind you, but about another port that continues to underscore the power of relationships. An example of this is captured in an experience from one of the authors. Back in 1970, fresh out of undergraduate school, Al Condeluci, was thrust into a large geriatric institution in Pittsburgh called John Kane Hospital. It was an immense place, with some 2,000 residents, mostly elders, but it was also home for many younger people with disabilities or functional complications that kept them disconnected from the broader community. And although institutionalization is a complex phenomena, it really boiled down to these Kane Hospital residents having no (or limited) relationships that could support them in their natural community. Because of this key fact—limited or no relationships—these men and women were isolated from the community.

As Al wandered around this vast institution as a young man, he could not help see each of these folks he encountered as he might an uncle, aunt, mother, or father. Most of them didn’t want to be there and often pleaded with him (and the other social workers) to help them get back home. His thoughts then were not nearly as focused as they are today, and he thought they merely needed counseling to adjust to their plight or, if they could leave the facility, a nice group home or smaller institution to care for them. Innocently, he had not fully conceived the vital factor of relationships.

Then a few years later, influenced by the younger people he met at Kane Hospital, Al migrated to United Cerebral Palsy (now called Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) in an effort to help folks have an opportunity to live in a smaller community setting. Again, he thought that a system of caring helpers could offer a better setting than a large, impersonal hospital. In a way he was right, but his thoughts that a program or formal system could create true empowerment for a person rendered vulnerable by a disability continued to miss a key point.

As CLASS proceeded to develop and build “programs,” we noticed that although many individual circumstances were better than in an institutional setting, in a bigger way, true community opportunities were still few and far between. That is, although the people we were helping had a better life in some ways, the larger discrimination and devaluation of people with disabilities was still rule of the day. Unemployment, difficulties in housing and transportation, barriers, and broader aspects of isolation were then and still are very commonplace for people with disabilities and for most other folks who have some significant social vulnerability.

By the mid-1980s, we had begun to awaken to these broader challenges and we started to see that the paradigm that surrounded the supports we were offering was linked to a medical model that saw the person with the disability as having a problem that needed to be solved, mostly by trying to fix or change the person. This medical model, or, as we frame it today, the “micro-support” approach, is very much about diagnosis, interventions, therapies, and other internal techniques that can be helpful but rarely change the perspective of community.

In 1988, with reflection, discussion and debate, we had developed another approach or paradigm that was much more macro in perspective and we called it “Interdependence.” This model suggested that the problem was not the person with the disability (or other vulnerability), but was more fashioned by a community that saw no relevance to the individual with a disability….This…attracted attention because it appealed to frustrations felt by many people, but mostly by people with disabilities and their families. The notion that their son or daughter was not the problem provided a refreshing perspective from all the “micro” oriented activity and programs that abounded then (and sadly, still today).

In the ensuing years, we have continued to think about the greater community and have attempted to apply a more “macro” perspective in the work we do and services we offer. Still, this notion is not easy. The “micro model” is so dominant that policy, procedure, and the world around us still does not get it.

So to continue to promote a macro approach that is focused on the development of relationships as its key piece, we offer you this book. It is yet another step in what has been a long, yet exciting journey. In that time, we have attracted new players, perspectives, and adjustments to the process, but the cornerstone pieces still remain—that people with disabilities are not the problem and that when people find their commonality, disabilities matter less. So, take a close look at what we have developed…. The book is organized in such a way that regardless of your background or experience with a macro, community-based model, the flow and impact should make sense. We start this effort by taking a strategic look at the interdependent paradigm, how it manifests, and what sets it apart from the micro or clinical efforts that are out there.

The next chapter examines the essence of the interdependent paradigm—social capital. Here we look at why relationships are so important in community and the good things they are associated with. This information sets the tone then for the next three chapters, which introduce some actions. This includes how you or your organization might shift to an interdependent paradigm, how you might invest more in social capital, and how you can measure success by tracking social capital related outcomes.

The final chapters explore interdependence in action and future implications. We have invited some colleagues from around North America to share the impact of their work, especially when using a macro perspective, and future implications. Each section attempts to do what the entire book aspires to—offer ways to implement strategies, ideas, suggestions, and recommendations on how you as an individual or your organization collectively, can understand the power and potency of social capital and move to a more viable paradigm.

Know that the style of this book blends in and out of the experience of its primary authors and the many associates who have offered either direct examples or overall recommendations to the thesis. None of the aspects of this book, or its implications, have spawned in a vacuum. Rather, this is an interdependent project, one born from the passion and essence of many people who have helped develop its frame.

So thanks for taking time to explore this book, but more, thanks for your willingness to broaden your perspective and to look for more viable ways to make an impact. All change requires an examination of concepts and frameworks, and then a re-emergence of new, improved, or altered ways to do things better. Sometimes these adjustments work, sometimes they don’t.

The important thing is that we try.

Al Condeluci and Jeff Fromknecht

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