There is a website called the Daily Grommet that I absolutely love. It has nothing to do with child welfare or human services; rather it feeds my passion for the gadgets and unique products that enhance my life. It is described on their website as follows:
“Daily Grommet is the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. We believe every purchase amplifies something in the world, good, bad or indifferent…… we’re creating a place for people….to support what matters most to them: whether it’s technical innovation, green or social enterprises, the creation of jobs, domestic manufacturing, or the preservation of craft. And we’re rethinking the way people fundamentally launch, discover, share, influence and buy….”
Of course, being a person that always tries to find connections and ways to transfer positive learning to other settings, I got to thinking that there should be a Daily Grommet of Human Services. It would be the Citizen Commerce of the social services world. My Daily Grommet would be a forum to share innovative, creative, and re-invented programs, projects, and ideas.
Here is how it might play out. Say I live in Duncombe, Iowa (yes, it is a real place) and my neighbors and I are concerned about the elderly folks that have no one nearby to turn to for assistance; whose families moved away years ago. We are also concerned that the youth in this small town often find themselves bored and turning to nefarious activities for entertainment. So a small group of us call a town meeting to talk with the community about harnessing the youthful energy to support the vulnerable elderly in the community. Ultimately what we create is a community program where the youth assist the elderly and maybe there is a small scholarship fund established to reward the youth and ensure that they have the opportunity to gain an education beyond the small town of Duncombe, Iowa.
The DG of HS (Daily Grommet of Human Services) would include a website where people could suggest or post activities like that of Duncombe, Iowa. Each month, week, or day, there might be a new project posted (hopefully daily because there are just so many good ideas out there). Public and private agencies, colleges and universities, or individuals could peruse the site occasionally to seek out projects that might be transferable to other communities or populations. Or they might want to lend support and conduct an evaluation to establish a comprehensive list of evidence-based programs. Or foundations might see an idea they like and decide to provide support to take small projects to a larger scale or new populations.
My DG of HS would be searchable by categories such as age (early childhood, youth, elderly), societal issue (poverty, unemployment, health, education), and community demographics. Eventually we would have a huge repository of opportunities to improve communities and support all persons. Some may be ideas in infancy, others may be fully-developed programs. Visitors to the site could pick and choose those ideas that they perceive as potentially valuable in their communities. They would have the opportunity to connect with individuals and programs about which they would otherwise never know. It might even inspire some people get involved in their communities, educational institutions, or volunteer programs, or maybe come up with their own Daily Grommet. Wouldn’t that be great?!