Contained herein is the story of Jane Adams, a historical leader in social work in the United States and internationally. Born in 1860 to John Adams and Mary Adams in Collierville Illinois, Jane Adams was received her education in both United States and in Europe, where she received inspiration for social work in early stages of her adult life. According to Louise (2003, p. 76) Jane Adams received most of her philanthropy lessons from her father, “a wealthy Illinois banker and senator”.
The father is noted to have instilled the art of giving in his children, and especially Jane Adams who indicated interest in social work. Other than preparing Jane for social work, the father embarked on providing his daughter with the best education possible. In addition, John Adams embarked on teaching his daughter on the importance of character and the importance of caring for other people in the society. Considering educational and character education that Jane received from her father, one can confidently conclude that none was in vain, as illustrated in her epic work in social work.
According to UIC website (2008), it is during he European journeys that Jane Adams made the decision to dedicate her life to social work. Specifically, Jane had been visiting London’s poor neighborhood when she came across Andrew Mearns’ article regarding the outcry of outcasts in the city of London. The plight of poor people in London inspired Jane to do something for the poor within her Chicago neighborhood and beyond. Indeed after returning to Chicago, she joined with her friend Ellen Gates Starr to establish the Hull House that became the hallmark of Jane’s social work.
In the initial period, the open house was receiving over 2000 guests every week from local and far communities. The many facilities and services available in the Hull House played a big part in attracting needy people therein. For instance, the House provided night school for adults, which helped in improving educational standards for people who lacked such opportunities. Given that classes were given in the evening, individuals could easily embark on working during the day and attending classes in the evening.
A kindergarten facility was another important inclusion, as poor, working were provided with ad place to leave the young ones during the day. Other important facilities included library, drama group, book bindery training, girls club, musical school, art gallery, public kitchen, and swimming pool among others. Covering many interests meant that poor people’s interests were being taken care of in proportions never seen before in Chicago and, indeed, in the United States. The Hull House succeeded in many things, but it is the night schools that gets most recognition and admiration.
Indeed, the school concentrated on providing education on courses that improved adult students’ marketability. According to Hilda (2000, p. 63), the success gained in the night school is what influenced other colleges and universities in Chicago and the larger United States to embark on providing continuing education that has become a common place in America’s education system. Setting the ball for such educational programs was indeed an important contribution in global social work.
As a Chicago resident, Jane Adams is credited with playing key role in establishing roots for the influential Chicago School of Sociology. This was especially achieved through her groundbreaking work on applied sociology. Jane Adams further co-authored the book Hull-House Maps & Papers, which is rumored to have been the source of Chicago School’s main methodologies (Louise, 2003, p. 87). Jane Adams also loomed large when it came to social reform in the country. For instance, notes Louise (2003, p. 02) she joined hands with George Mead to push for reforms promoting women rights in a man dominated American society. She was also instrumental in the campaign against children labor in early 20th century, as well as negotiating during the infamous Garment Workers Strike in 1910. Jane Adams also played the lead role in the establishment the United States Protection Association that became the nation’s initial juvenile court. The institution was directed helping the troubled youngsters access justice and support systems they needed for better living.
The absence of such systems in the United States had left this citizen class unattended. Jane Adams was generally concerned with the plight of venerable people in the society, as indicated in various areas of this essay. Immigrants into the United States were not left out as she embarked on establishing the Immigrant Protective League that solely catered for their interests that had been ignored by the society. Most, if not all, of Jane Adams’ social work had international influence.
For instance, the national Women’s Peace Party she helped established in the early 20th century facilitated the founding International Congress of Women that lobbied for world powers to avert World War I. Unfortunately for Jane Adams; she was expelled from Daughters of Revolution, because her anti-war sentiments were regarded as unpatriotic (Hilda, 2008. p. 14). But that did not stop the ever determined Jane Adams from continuing with groundbreaking social work that won her a Nobel Prize in 1931 (UIC, 2008).