This paper will explore the factors that led the Founders to create the Family of Woodstock while discussing its ability to meet the needs of the community. Further discussion will include creation of the agency’s values, attitudes and beliefs and how they have changed over its 40 year period of service to the community and how specialization has become a trend in the human services delivery.
The Family of Woodstock, a social service agency, was founded by those individuals who felt that certain factors presented the opportunity for them to start a social service agency as a direct result of the Woodstock Festival held in a town approximately 100 miles from their location. Many of those who attended the Woodstock Festival brought little, if any, personal belongings or food with them. They were sleeping in parks and spent time hunting down food and/or shelter. In many cases, the attendees were looking for shelter, food and clothing. The community came together with one resident offering her home as well as her telephone service to prevent the Festival attendees from roaming through the area and possibly being arrested for vagrancy. This began the Family of Woodstock whose mission is “to provide confidential and fully accessible crisis intervention, information, prevention, and support services to address the needs of individuals and families.
The scope of the agency’s vision allows us to bring to bear resources to address a broad spectrum of human problems.” (Family of Woodstock, 2014) With the commitment that the staff at Family would not tell people what to do nor pass judgment on them, the staff was instructed to listen and encourage those who came for help to make choices that would be of benefit. The staff’s eventual goal was to refer people to existing agencies, but be able to fill in when no other agency could assist individuals seeking assistance. Family of Woodstock has become the premier agency for individuals and families seeking assistance in the areas of homelessness, domestic violence, emergency services, child and adolescent services. The agency has certainly met the needs of their community and beyond. The Family provides numerous shelters and housing programs such as Family House – a runaway and homeless youth facility; the Darmstadt Shelter for the Homeless – for men and women primarily in various stages of recover; the Family Inn – a shelter for homeless families; the Washbourne House – a domestic violence shelter for women and their children.
The agency also provides supervised transitional living residences for homeless adolescents, and if necessary, their children. A few of the other programs that the Family of Woodstock provide are child care programs for the community, case management services for adult and adolescent substance abusers, inmates at the county jail, homeless individuals and families, victims of domestic violence as well as the general public. Non-residential services are provided to victims of domestic violence as well as supervised visits ordered by the local courts. Keeping in mind that the values, beliefs and attitudes of the Family of Woodstock may have changed over the 40 years since its inception, the original three concepts have continued and have been incorporated into how the Family continues to provide service to the community and its residents.
Forty years ago, this fledging not for profit took its concepts from the way the founding members saw their commitment to the community. Today that commitment to the community continues with the addition of more programs and services to assist a broader spectrum of individuals and families who require service. The original client base were individuals and families who attended the Woodstock Festival; today’s clients are residents of the community, some of whom may be part of the original client basis and/or their family members. In this day and age, specialization has become the latest trend in the human service profession and innovation is equally important and powerful.
It is part of how agencies deliver outcomes today, while preparing for tomorrow. Not for profit leaders and others realize that processes, technologies and cultures must be part of the change today in order to deliver high-quality, cost-effective services in the future. However this change takes place, not for profit leaders and others know that in order for their agencies to formulate change, they must assimilate the change with the unique positions that their agencies hold. In conclusion, the Family of Woodstock has moved forward utilizing their talents and abilities to seek changes which move their agency forward by providing more services than originally planned and utilizing their successful outcomes as the pivotal point.
Burger, W.R. (2011). Human services in contemporary America (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Family of Woodstock, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2014 from