At this year’s CALCASA Leadership Conference, I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a workshop in the Intervention track called Practice What You Preach: Working Models in the Field. Imelda Buncab, my co-facilitator, and I were really interested in engaging those that do Intervention work in a discussion around how the work gets done. The theme of the conference, The Evolution and Revolution of Our Movement, provided the perfect backdrop for this discussion because what is Intervention work if it isn’t revolutionary in its action.
There is a spark that ignites a person to do Intervention work, kindled by the stories one hears in direct service. We answer that call to action and do what needs to be done. Yet, with all revolutions, “doing what needs to be done” has to evolve into something more. Doing must have direction or what gets done can feed into a ball of chaos that doesn’t benefit anyone. Systems of accountability are set and survivors not only have a person that wants to help and hold their hand when others would shun them, but also an individual with a plan.
This person knows that kind words and an advocate’s spirit cannot sustain the survivor forever. The spark must now become a flame that burns constantly as a beacon of hope, change and the promise of healing — however the survivor defines it. When Imelda and I asked people repeatedly what was their model, our goal was to feed that flame, provide a new kind of kindling that helped those that do Intervention work critically examine their role in the evolution of our field.
I won’t be so bold as to say that goal was accomplished completely. Quite a bit could have been lost in the translation of what sounded so perfectly in my head and what actually made its way out of my mouth, but I’d like to think some seeds were planted. I hold a belief that some individuals went back to their agencies and thought internally or collectively on what they wanted their role to be in using or adopting models in their work. Also, I hold a belief that those dialogues and introspections of what works, what doesn’t and what can benefit from a revision helps push our field in a direction that constantly puts the survivor first.
After all, that is what lies at the heart of this revolution we have started: doing work that is best for the survivor.