What Is a Holistic Approach?
Our established health and social support systems today run on parallel tracks. A family will receive help from two or more agencies, for example, yet the workers from these agencies will rarely, if ever, speak or exchange information – even though the family’s issues are inter-related and would benefit from a more cohesive form of assistance. Furthermore, these systems are overburdened, and we know that our government cannot fix every problem… As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Likewise, families need structured and intentional help from their immediate networks and community to overcome their challenges. Our role at the Ideal Way Association is to make a comprehensive assessment of a family’s needs, to help the family create an action plan based on their strengths and aspirations, and to help the family create a network of supporters who can help to implement the plan and respond quickly when needs arise.
We journey with families over a period of approximately one and a half years. At first, we assess the needs and the strengths of each family member, and find out about the aspirations of the family over the short, medium and long term. We also take immediate action to address any situation that represents a threat to their safety. Next, we work to bring the family to a place of stability. Once this is achieved, we help the family work toward accomplishing their life goals and realizing their full potential!
As we work with the families, we assist them in many ways. First and foremost, families are relieved simply to know that they have support and are no longer alone in facing their struggles. Next, we bring concrete solutions to meet their needs, focussing on the following areas:
- Survival Needs – Housing, clothing, food security
- Medical – Dentist, doctor, pediatrician, psychological counseling, speech therapy etc.
- Financial Coaching – Budgeting, debt repayment, fiscal prioritization
- Personal Development – Leadership coaching, education
- Transportation – Removing obstacles to employment, health care, food security
- Employment – Finding opportunities, preparing for interviews, resume writing
- Leisure – Sports, arts, community involvement & activities
Our holistic approach is rooted in a principle, based on an ancient Maimonides proverb, which states that to teach someone how to do something is far more valuable than to do it for them. If we are not intentional about empowering families today, then poverty will plague our communities for generations to come.
“Children who experience poverty, especially persistently, are at higher risk of suffering health problems, developmental delays, and behaviour disorders. They tend to attain lower levels of education and are more likely to live in poverty as adults.”
- Conference Board of Canada, 2015