In essence, Social Justice is so central to the mission of most Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Urban Dream Organization. The account of social justice claims that everyone deserves equal economic, social, and political opportunities and rights. Urban Dream works hard to open doors and opportunities for everyone, specifically those in greatest needs. The organization demands that all people should be given equal rights from the wealthiest to the poorest person in the society. Wayne Ford is the Core Founder of Urban Dreams. Since its establishment in 1985, the organization steps into the community to offer an array of human services to those in need. The main purpose of this NGO is to enhance a positive change in the society and the community. The organization collaborates with various churches, universities, and colleges to boost growth throughout Iowa and the county. This is an NGO committed to alleviating homelessness, poverty and lack of shelter in Des Moines’ inner city.
This NGO works hard to address both human and social services. For instance, the organization collaborates with various colleges and universities such as Simpson College, Iowa University, Drake University, and Iowa State University to deal with human issues resulting from the Iowa’s urban and rural transition. In this context, the organization creates a strong ground to address social justice both in Iowa’s rural and urban transition. The organization also exposes urban youth to agriculture activities that in turn kindle their interest in farming. Lastly, the organization promotes a safe environment free from drug abuse. In so doing, it educates many on the dangers of drug abuse and monitors the victims who have already engaged in drugs (Urban Dreams, 2013).
General Background about Social Justice Issues
Urban Dream organization promotes social justice in the Des Moines city. The organization has established problems affecting the city such as poverty, homelessness, and lack of education. Studies document that, although there have been many NGOs in the Des Moines City, the problem has been that most are not located in the places that require the most help (Haugen, Musser, & Kalambakal, 2010). Most are located in areas where there are no most people in need. However, Urban Dream Organization has identified potential areas where many people are living in poverty, lack education, and are homeless. Many people in Polk County are isolated and some live in outdoor shelters or camps for years. The Polk County leads in many cases of high school dropouts, gang participation, crime rates, abandoned homes and property, and lack of adequate job opportunities. With these needs, Urban Dream has stepped in to provide human and social services that promote better living conditions (Urban Dreams, 2013).
Public Sector approach to Social Justice
In the United States, the public sector is approaching social injustice issues at all levels. For instance, in his leadership, President Barrack Obama has announced plans to reform health care as part of his campaign platform. During his campaign, he assured Americans that he would create a strong ground for health equality to all regardless of any difference (Haugen, Musser, & Kalambakal, 2010). In 2008, his initial plan was centred on Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). His goal was to reduce health care costs and improve quality health care for those who did not receive it. Obama health care reform has been in the lead to address health inequalities and reduce health care cost. For instance, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care have decreased cost in health care and make it more available to all people. Obama’s health care reform has addressed social justice issues such as discrimination and racism that emerge when distributing health care to various populations. Additionally, in 1989, Maria Foscarinis found the National Law Centre on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP). The mission of this non-profit corporation was to eradicate homelessness by encouraging the government to create shelters for the less privileged in the society. This organization viewed homelessness as an extreme social injustice issue that needed to be first addressed. Since its establishment, the organization has created a strong ground to protect homeless victims from discrimination, building homes for homeless people, holding the American government accountable to housing its citizens, and preventing violence victims from being homeless (Capeheart & Milovanovic, 2007).
Typically, most programs have also worked on poverty eradication in close partnership with UNESCO sectors. The overall strategy for UNESCO has been to eradicate poverty and promote social health in America. Additionally, the Hope VI has created a strong platform to eradicate homelessness and poverty in the United States. The organization deters the worst public housing in the U.S.A. This program began in 1992 with an aim of preventing homelessness. Still, Hope ministries have been in the lead in providing shelter, food, and life changing programs. In the mission field, this organization has helped the homeless and hungry women, men, and children. The organization motivates many to be their donors and partners in order to meet the society’s needs (Swartz, 2006).
Urban Dreams Organization
As previously mentioned, Urban Dreams Organization has been providing human and social services in Des Moines’ Inner city. This city is the centre of insurance, financial, and other major corporations. Although there are many wealthy people living in Des Moines’ Inner City, the truth of the matter is some people are living in so much poverty that they lack proper housing, food, and job opportunities (Haugen, Musser, & Kalambakal, 2010). The Urban Dream Organization has responded to these needs by creating a strong platform where social justice can prevail between the wealthiest and poorest people. Wayne Ford is the core founder of Urban Dream who in 1985 established an organization that offer human and social services programs in the Des Moines’ city. His dream was to have an organization that would offer a wide range of human and social services to the people in need through various channels such as creating job opportunities and providing support (Urban Dreams, 2013).
The main goals and objectives of Urban Dreams Organization is to provide services that meet the constantly and growing needs of the community. Since its establishment, the organization offer human services and community agencies that helps other communities in Des Moines’ inner city. Still, the organization partners with churches, Polk county government, universities, colleges, and other organizations committed to enhancing positive benefits to the community. These organizations regard their participation and contribution as a great input in the future for Des Moines City and Lowa State. Since its establishment, the organization has served as the training ground for social workers and counsellors to help others in the community. The Urban Dreams organization offers different programs that address issues affecting the Des Moines’ inner city (Urban Dreams, 2013).
The organization’s target audience are those living within Des Moines’ inner city. The organization’s mission is to improve quality life for every person living within that region. Urban Dreams Organization aims to bridge the gap between the non-traditional and traditional communities. In other words, the organization seeks to eradicate the gap between the wealthiest and poorest people within that region. It is accessible and available to those in need. Studies show that, although the Des Moines’ inner city is known for its economic and industrial power, the Pork County also leads in other issues such as high school dropouts, gang participation, crime rates, and high unemployment rates among young people just to name a few. With this in mind, the organization diligently works hard to ensure that everyone is treated equally regardless of his social, education, and racial status (Urban Dreams, 2013).
Personal Experience with the NGO
It was on February 8th, 2013, when I had a good experience working with Urban Dream Organization. The project took three days in the Evelyn Davis Centre 808 University AV, Des Moines, IA 50014. The purpose of this project was to gather facts and information about families and individuals who migrated to the Des Moines areas from other cities. The project was sponsored by the Simpson Urban Studies institute cooperation with Urban Dreams. Most specifically, the project focused on the personal experiences of African American residents who migrated to the Des Moines city between 1993 and 2012. The project consisted of the two parts, the survey where everyone was given a chance to fill the survey forms and then the focus group meeting whereby I was the listener. While in the meeting, the Focus Group’s administrator asked many questions to the people such as their locations and their reasons for moving out. Most people said that they came from various cities such as Chicago, Loss Anglos, New Jersey, and Kansas City. Additionally, most agreed that their reasons for moving were because they were looking for better opportunities in Des Moines. Moving to the end of the meeting, they were asked what can be done to make the city better for migrants. Most said that, the city would be better if there was equal job opportunities, equality of minimum wages, and free activities for kids. During the discussion, many claimed that there was a lot of discrimination going on in the city where Blacks and Latino were denied job opportunities. Being a listener in the Focus group was interesting as they made me understand various social justice issues affecting Des Moines City.
Additionally, I conducted an Interview in Lowa State University. I interviewed two students who helped me understand how they perceived social justice. I was inspired by the NGO move to help the needy in the community. The climate of the NGO was professional whereby workers were encouraged to fully meet the needs of the community in a professional and ethical way. I interviewed two students to answer the following questions. What social meant, issues of social justice affecting Iowa State, How Iowa state can support or create social justice, whether Iowa State should create a social justice awareness campaign, and the rate of social justice in the Iowa University. One student who majored in Accounts defined social justice as creating a strong ground where there are equal treatment, right, protection, and access to resources. This student believed that the integration of international students in Iowa State University is the major social justice issue. The other students who majored in Finance defined justice as treating everyone with respect and equality regardless the differences in race, gender, education, and social status. These students said that the ISU can create or support social justice by introducing courses that augment interaction of International students with Americans. This interview created great insights in that I agreed with the two students there is a need of a social justice campaign to educate people about social justice issue.
Description of the Project
|Dates||Services||Number of Hours|
|Friday February 8, 2013||Preparation/ Assigned Tasks||5|
|Friday March 29, 2013||Urban Migration Study of Simpson College||6|
|Friday April 12, 2013||Video Footage for future aspiration||5|
|Ames/Campus/Video/Reflections||5 Minute Videos from various issues affecting the community such as racial, ethnic, economic, and social issues||4|
On February 8th 2013, I took 5 hours preparing for the task. Later, I conducted an Urban Migration project that took 5 hours. The project focused on the real life experiences of residents who migrated to Des Moines Area from other cities. At this point, the administrator asked many questions to the people from Simpson Urban Institute College. To be able to understand how social justice is perceived in Universities and Colleges, I interviewed two students from Iowa University. I took 4 hours to interview and collect information about social justice from 2 students. I took 5 hours showing students the video footage of how the world would be if social justice issues were addressed accordingly. The video footage was meant to encourage most NGOs to respond to the wake up call of addressing social injustice in colleges, universities, and communities. Lastly, I took a 5 Minute Videos from various issues affecting the community such as racial, ethnic, economic, and social issues. The purpose of this was to educate others on the need to respond to social injustice issues in the community. Various issues were identified such as behavioral problems, people in need of food, shelter, and clothing, issues involving youth conflict, lack of education, and racism, and teenage pregnancy just to name a few.
How Urban Dream Organization is addressing these issues
The organization offers programs such as Community Care Management that strengthens families in the community and prevents child neglect and abuse. Additionally, the organization helps people in need of clothing, food, shelter, jobs, and other services. These activities promote human services in the community in that the related programs focus on improving the well-being of people and their lifestyle. Typically, the organization also offers social support in the community to deter any problem of social injustice, discrimination, and racism. In this case, the organization provides social mediation program that deals with issues pertaining race, youth conflict, and lack of education just to name a few. In addition, the urban dreams organization provides the community with substance abuse treatment services that provides individual and group counselling. Additionally, the organization also focuses on Teenage pregnancy prevention and HIV/STD prevention for people between 11 and 14 years. The Medicaid-funded programs help families and youths in the community to address behavioural problems (Urban Dreams, 2013).
The best practices and experiences I learnt from this experience is that, there is a need to address social justice issues in the society. I would suggest Focus Urban Dream Organization to improve on its resources to better address the social justice issues. From that real life experience, I found out that so many people are in need. With this, I established the need for the organization to have adequate resources to meet and address many needs in the society. This interview created great insights in that I agreed with the two students that there is a need of a social justice campaign to educate people about social justice issue.
Capeheart, L., & Milovanovic, D. (2007). Social justice: Theories, issues, and movements. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Haugen, D. M., Musser, S., & Kalambakal, V. (2010). Social justice. Farmington Hills, Mich: Greenhaven Press/Gale Cengage LeaSrning.
Swartz, O. (2006). Social justice and communication scholarship. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Urban Dreams. (2013). What is Urban Dreams Organization. Retrieved from www.urbandreams.org.