Our Social Change Theory - Part 2: The Dance

Published on 28 July 2021

Our belief in a dream for everyone’s life leads us to take action, but we are aware of the nightmare that needs to be managed. We do this through the second aspect of our Social Change Theory: the dance.

A dance is a choreographed set of steps and movements, performed by one or more individuals. We view our interventions and involvement with each family and individual in our care system in a similar way.

Just as a dance needs to be planned in order to flow smoothly and gracefully, our interventions are carefully planned according to our life cycle of careand the needs of the family and individual we are initiating the ‘dance’ with.

The steps we take are informed by where a family’s journey fits within our life cycle of care. Together with a family, we learn their current needs and requirements and introduce specific interventions that meet them where they are. We recently met three sisters who ran away from the dangers at their home after their parents passed away. That first discussion was the beginning of the dance: from a shack to a safer home, from little support to a network of care including coaches, teachers, a care coordinator, sponsors and a budget. Together with this family, we will choreograph the steps to come as they journey from vulnerability to autonomy and reciprocity.

But we don’t just give them the steps and the outfits and the music and leave them to it. We work with them throughout the process.

The most important part of any dance are the performers themselves. Relationships are at the core of our methodology, and our team and our families are all performers in this dance. The dance does not end if someone forgets their steps. The team as a whole is affected; therefore the team as a whole has a stake in the success and well-being of their fellow performers. Just as a dance group needs to work together to perform well, so our team and family members perform best when they form bonds and work together towards a common goal. An important part of the dance is that it establishes love, acceptance, affirmation, validation, recognition and a mutual sense of dignity, worth and value between members of our family.

Lastly, dancers need to develop muscle memory in order to move effortlessly. This is accomplished through practice and repetition, and plenty of stretching and discomfort are inevitable to hone the muscles accordingly.  Pain and suffering are part of the dancer’s experience.  Relationally we too accept this reality and regard the stretching, discomfort and pain as part of the dance as we hone our own muscles to perfect our performance through practice and experience.

Our dance is choreographed according to the unique needs of those in our care. We perform the dance together with them, building bonds and developing mutual trust and respect. Together as we practice and refine the dance, we face struggles and challenges that test our abilities and lead us to growth, but we also celebrate triumphs and emerge with a performance enriched by experience.   

The third component in our Social Change Theory, the choice, influences the dance and affects its ultimate outcomes.

Part 3 of our Social Change Theory: the choice will be coming soon.