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An excerpt from "The Gift Of Hospitality: Opening The Doors Of Community Life To People With Disabilities"

By Mary O'Connell

In a social service system
people are know by what's wrong by their condition or label.
In community
people are known as individuals.


In a system people
are incomplete and need to changed or "fixed".
In community
people are as they are, with opportunities to follow their own dreams.


In a system
relationships are unequal; service workers do things "for" clients and don't look for any contribution in return.
In community
people have a chance to be accepted as whole persons, and viewed as part of the whole society.


In a system
problems are solved by consulting authorities, policies, and procedures.
In a community
people seek answers from their own experience and the wisdom of others.

In a system
there is no room to acknowledge mistakes and uncertainty; information is communicated in professional jargon that distance individuals from their actions.
In community
people can make honest efforts and acknowledge honest mistakes and fears.


In a system
all problems have a rational solution.
In community
there is room for confusion, and mystery, and recognition that some things are beyond human control.


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