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What is Social Change?

social change n. 1. The structural transformation of political, social, and economic systems and institutions to create a more equitable and just society. 2. Proponents target the underlying causes of critical social problems such as homelessness, discrimination, and poverty.
No, really, what is Social Change??

Social change is identifying something in your community that is not fair, just or humane and developing a process to address the cause of this issue in hopes of bringing more justice and equity to the situation. (Pittman, 1991)

Social Change is More Than Community Service…
Social change is about digging deeper and finding out how you can fix something at the root, not just on the surface.

Here’s an example of what your GFC team might do:

You could start by volunteering at a homeless shelter. In order to create something with lasting effect, you need to understand WHY people are homeless.

When you participate in the project at the shelter, find out more from the staff and clients about why people do not have housing. By understanding this, you can decide on a root problem to tackle. Homelessness may be the result of high rents, eviction laws, a lack of jobs, substance abuse or poverty. A social change project that could result from your learning about homelessness may be:

  • A letter writing campaign to local politicians to change housing laws. You could write letters in partnership with residents of the shelter.
  • Or a rally for affordable housing projects in your community.

The core value of progressive social change is: Change NOT Charity

Here's an another example. Check out how Team #54 from the Menlo Park Boys and Girls Club went about making change:

“Young Hope” is what the girls from Team 54 named their project. The girls want middle school students to be aware of the violence affecting their community. They also want to encourage those students to change the trend and give the community hope for the future. They presented a workshop at Belle Haven Elementary school that featured guest speakers who spoke about how violence has affected their lives and information on how violence has affected their community over the years. The girls from Team 54 hope to foster new community leaders by asking students to commit to being a positive influence in the community.

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