Mary Rigg served families in Indianapolis during the last pandemic in 1918 and is resiliently standing strong to serve today’s students, parents, adults, and families as we face the current circumstances together. Mary Rigg will continue to serve in 2021 as a strong connector for adults seeking better work skills and better employment as a top strategy for families to stabilize housing, stabilize income, retain their employment, and lead to better progress as they raise their families and move ahead.
One helpful thing we can all do as we work together for better opportunities ahead is to use what social workers call a “person-first” approach. That is, when we talk about people, whether friends, family members, or others in our community, we don’t use labels such as “poverty” or “low income” or “unemployed” or “homeless” or “evicted”. People are people first, not their condition. They may be struggling with their circumstances, but their conditions don’t define them as who they are as a person. Really when you think about it, the only label that is kind, caring, and effective is to use the person’s name. Then we can work together to do something positive about their circumstances.
Try it. As you have conversations about people you know, or others in our community you may not know as well, go out of your way to refer to people as people first, and not by defining a person or a whole group of people with a limiting label. As they say, once you’ve met one person struggling with poverty, you’ve met that one person. Every person’s story and journey are unique, and as excellent social workers, Mary Rigg serves everyone as a person first. Then we can work together for better opportunities ahead.