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Roseburg Social Workers and Welfare Moms Chart Course

 
It started in a bar 40 years ago in Roseburg, Ore., when a handful of young welfare case workers began gathering after work to drink and gripe about their job.  There, they met welfare moms drinking and griping about welfare.  It became a regular thing, drinking and yelling together, as well as sharing lots of laughs.

 
After a while the gripe sessions evolved into community meetings and late-night planning sessions.  The moms talked and the renegade social workers listened.  
 
The moms needed low-cost housing and food.  They needed jobs and day care and transportation.  They needed a chance to finish the education they missed when they married too young.  They needed a place to stay when their husbands abused them.
 
And they needed something else.  They needed respect and the self-confidence to stand up to the experts who said nothing could be done.
 
In a little over a year, they moved from planning to doing.  They started with the Confidence Clinic in 1971 and soon added daycare, a women’s shelter, the food bank, housing, Head Start and all the programs that now exist as United Community Action Network.
 

 
 
Source: Willman, Anna. Creating Confidence: How to Do Social Work Without Destroying People’s Souls. Roseburg, Oregon: Bravado Publishing, 2011. 27-254. Print.