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material aid, when necessary, in the wisest way, for real co-operation, for educating public opinion,- personal service is absolutely necessary. As it is the basis of true charity work, we must first and foremost seek its aid. We, of all persons, must not give the idea that charity can be done by mere officialism or mechanism. Neglect of the element of personality in both officials and volunteers has wrecked some of our societies. A society for organizing charity is not like many things,- a bank, an insurance company,, which most men believe are absolutely necessary, and which, because profitable, one or another good business man will manage well. To establish it is not easy, to maintain it is harder still. The mere fact that it ought to be a help and economy to all charities is not enough to keep it alive with any useful vitality, especially if lean treasuries and petty jealousies and fears of “red tape,” etc., make charitable bodies and churches lukewarm to it. The higher are the methods it follows, the harder is its way.
An energetic and tactful official - one who knows what Charity Organization means and is doing elsewhereis no less necessary than are painstaking and public-spirited volunteers as managers, who will make it, not everybody's business, but their business. The wise direction of benevolent forces is not like the American politician's idea of public office,- something that anybody can do. The lives of some of our societies show fluctuations down and up, from practical disorganization to high efficiency, according to the personal element, to those in whose hands they chanced to be.
There is one more question to be asked, but not answered here; for the answer must vary with the peculiar conditions in each community. Do not some of us at times subordinate to ease and peace, or a petty co-operation, the great and helpful results which might come from a campaign of education? The cause of charity is suffering almost as much to-day from ignorance and indifference in the management of institutions and societies as the cause of good government is suffering from the venality of bad citizens and the indifference of so-called good citizens. A prominent charity worker once likened the model Charity Organization society to a union railroad depot, the terminus of all the charities of a city. The simile would be good, to my mind, provided all the charities be good. But what if some of these charities, by ignorance and antiquated methods, are working against the very aim of organized charity! We would not
think much of a great railroad which would be content to en-
Associated Charities,” which most of us happily have taken, ex-
Some of you may not agree with me that personal service and the
Let us to-night resolve so to work as not to be found wanting.
Through all this,- for fighting down the need of alms, for sec
CONTINUED CARE OF FAMILIES.
BY FRANCES A, SMITH.
In the United States, Associated Charities work has passed from infancy into childhood. In earlier days we groped doubtfully for ways and means; but now we are beginning to work intelligently, and to form good habits in our methods. Associated Charities
can all be classified under three heads,- cases of degradation, of destitution, and of conditions requiring special work for children.
Under the first must be considered as causes: (1) laziness ; (2) alcoholic intemperance; (3) lying, defrauding, beggary, shiftlessness, a too low standard of life, lack of economy, family squabbles, inefficiency; (4) cruelty to or neglect of children or relatives; (5) gambling, stealing, defrauding, vagrancy, illegal liquor-selling, cruelty to animals,
The causes of destitution are: (1) lack of work; (2) sickness or physical defects; (3) lack of wage-earners in the family, or poorly paid employment; (4) over-expenditure; (5) degradation.
In special work with children our first attention is given to see that they grow up under the best conditions possible, - moral, intellectual, social, industrial, physical, - and that they enter occupations where there is a chance of making a respectable livelihood for themselves and for their families in the future.
When we see adverse conditions in almost every family under our care appearing again and again, year after year, like the weeds in our garden, we must keep at work continually, season after season, pulling up the weeds of degradation and destitution, cultivating the thrift, self-dependence, industry, virtue, health, as well as the intellectual and social natures of our poor friends. If we hope for success in these human gardens, we must have such love, enthusiasm, energy, thoroughness, courage, as Celia Thaxter showed in her island garden. As she studied the habits of each plant in order to give it the essential elements for growth, so we carefully and patiently try to develop each family within the limitations of its nature. Mrs. Thaxter's book has many lessons for us, and it is pleasant to learn them in the delightful atmosphere of her breezy surroundings. think much of a great railroad which would be content to endanger the lives of all its passengers by using a depot together with a miserably managed road. Not peace, but a sword, has been and must be, at times, the means to a high end. Our name, especiall.. “ Associated Charities," which mind
be it it
Thus it is essential for every visitor to start out with the idea that this friendship for the family is to continue. It could also be made helpful by frequent consultations between the visitor and his conference. This could be written out by the committee or its agent for every family needing a visitor, as, for example: “At 5 Clark Street lives James Leonard with his wife Ellen and their four children. You may introduce yourself as having heard that he is out of work. You may perhaps help now to get him employment, and in the future by looking out for the children. We shall be glad to hear from you about this family at the Conference, Charity Building, Wednesday afternoon at three o'clock, at the office, or by letter."
Whenever the family has been helped over its period of sharp distress, then comes the time to assist in improving its condition permanently. It has been said that it is impossible to visit a family without making improvement, and it is equally true that it is impossible to visit a family year after year without making permanent improvement. Only by this long acquaintance can the friendly visitor become "the visiting friend." Friendliness is helpful, but friendship is powerful for good. We all know how the confidence of a friend has helped each one of us up into places we should never have reached alone.
A striking example occurred once during a visitor's illness, when we were asked to call on some of her poor people. One of the women we had not seen since she first came to us some four years before, and we remembered her distinctly as quite ordinary then. Imagine our surprise on finding that a certain dignity and earnestness akin to that of the visitor had crept into this woman's life, and found expression in her face and bearing. Such transformations cannot take place in a few weeks or months. They are of slow growth, but they are the best rewards of friendship.
There are visitors who find it difficult to talk with their poor families. One, we remember, thought he could not speak to them of the opera and theatre, and so felt that there was nothing to talk about. Edward Everett Hale's “How to Do It” applies just as well to conversation between the poor and well-to-do as it does to conversation elsewhere. Why not talk, therefore, of the theatre or opera, or of anything which interests us, as the best means of interesting them? If they cannot afford these recreations themselves, they may care all the more to hear them described by others. Often our poor friends
are eager to know all we can tell about ourselves. If we wish to
There are visitors who keep to their own simple and natural ways
yours, it must be right, and I am going to brush mine."
After you have been “the visiting friend,” it is only one more step to have your poor friends come to visit
Well do we remember the lady who gave the boys from her poor family a standing invitation to spend any of their leisure time at her house and gar