Effective Way of Creating Change: Yes or No?

I recently volunteered at the LAMB center here in Fairfax with my campus ministry group. If you haven’t heard of it, the LAMB center is a day shelter for people who are homeless or who have very low incomes. It provides breakfast, lunch, showers, laundry service, job search assistance, Bible study, and other services.


To help with job searches, the center has a closet of nice business clothes for interviews. My job for the day was to organize the closet and iron dress shirts. Afterwards, I talked with some of the people there and helped clean up after lunch.


In the article called “What is Social Change?” by Professor Wagner that we read at the beginning of the semester, there was a section called “Possible Pitfalls in Social Change” (28-32) that explained faults that could potentially happen in social change efforts despite good intentions. The center’s ultimate main goal is to combat homelessness in the Fairfax area. I think that this organization is one that doesn’t fall into one of the “pitfalls” because it doesn’t just stop at giving to the citizens of Fairfax in need; it helps them get out of their situations by finding jobs or getting counseling. It is also a friendly space where they can create ties with people from the community.


What do you think about the center? Does it sound like something that creates social change, or does it fall into one of the “pitfalls?” Do you know of any organizations around your hometown or around the area that did/do fall into one of the “pitfalls?”



3 Responses to “Effective Way of Creating Change: Yes or No?”

  1.   cforema2 Says:

    That was one of my favorite parts of the article we read by Dr. Swag! I never really sat down and thought about the actual pitfalls of social change or the difference between social change and charity. Based on your description of this center, I think they have a good balance of both. They provide the charity part by providing food, showers, laundry services, etc. If they would’ve stopped there, it will definitely be a pitfall of social change. However, like you said, since the center helps these people get jobs and provides them clothes for interviews, they are moving into actual social change. It’s not just about “dulling the problem” but actually eliminating the problem.

  2.   Rodrigo Says:

    I feel like the center is, in a way, providing social change by making life easier for those who has little, to no, means of helping themselves. But like with many service projects, there is always the potential for the Center falling into a pitfall. Since the center does help people attain means of supporting themselves, I feel as if this is a great social movement that doesn’t fall into a pitfall where the people become reliant on this help.

  3.   mkinsey Says:

    Mimi, I like how this center goes a step further in helping those in the community. Food centers like the Capital Area Food Bank are great for satisfying an immediate need, but don’t seem to do much in the long term. It sounds like LAMB tries their hardest to actually help people get back on their feet. I especially like their job resource help – I feel that that would be a very useful tool if I was ever in that situation! The LAMB center seems to cover more area and avoid becoming a pitfall.

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