It’s All Relative

Posted on Monday January 19, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

Marko Calasan: Mini Mozart of Computers is a story about an eight year old kid who has become the worlds youngest IT Professional. He passed the Microsoft Certified System Administrator exam. This means that he would be qualified to administer some business’ Microsoft based network.

This made me think about how relative it all is. Comparatively to a lot of people my age, and especially older, I would say that I have above average knowledge in regards to computers. Computers are only my hobby, so I must say I don’t know all that much. I have been turned to by my mom on lots occasions to fix minor issues with her computer. I even showed her how to text message. But I have been frequently blow away by what the younger generation knows about computers. This young boy showcases this to the fullest extent.

Working with Diverse Populations - Juvenile’s Involved in the Justice System

Posted on Sunday January 18, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

 No Matter How Loud I Shout by Edward Humes is a powerful book about Juveniles in the Juvenile Justice System. You can find a copy of  No Matter How Loud I Shout on Amazon  or on  No Matter How Loud I shout on Google Books . No Matter How Loud I Shout by Edward Humes is a powerful book about Juveniles in the Juvenile Justice System. You can find a copy of No Matter How Loud I Shout on Amazon or on No Matter How Loud I shout on Google Books .

Working with a diverse population requires the social worker examine aspects that make up the population. To fully examine a population, a few of the aspects that should be researched are as follows; best practices for working with the population, cultural background, tradition, norms and values, history of oppression, types of support, family dynamics, spirituality, and body language. The stories that fill Humes book come and address each of these aspects at different points.

Humes (1999) was granted unprecedented access to the juvenile courts in California. The juvenile court system is closed to outsiders and often seems secretive. The juvenile court system encompasses a large number of youth. In California there are 30,000 juvenile delinquency cases brought to court each year, 26 juvenile detention camps with some 4,400 youth, and 8,700 juvenile prison wards. The courts only have four basic sentences they can give to juveniles; (1) HOP (home of parent); (2) suitable placement (a network of public and private foster homes); (3) juvenile detention camps; (4) juvenile prison. This gives only limited options to how a judge can sentence a delinquent youth.

Humes book describes the various aspects of the Californian juvenile justice system. It moves around the stories of seven different teenagers involved in the court system. He also has in-depth look some different judges, their views and court rooms. Along with the judges he provides stories that involve attorneys, probation officers, youth, delinquents, families, social workers, teachers, and many others that come and go though the lives of the teenagers. It is all set up in story lines that intertwine together to give the reader a picture of court system.

To read the full review of Humes 1999 book and working with juvenile offenders or check out my resources.

Do You Really Understand

Posted on Saturday January 17, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

Have you ever heard numbers, and wondered really what they mean. People say that they will be there or do something in a second, for things that are to be done relatively soon (i.e. like 10 minutes or less). I’ve talked to people in juvenile detention, or jail who say that they are only there for a minute, when they might mean a couple of months. Along the same lines, I have heard people say that “it will never be ok,” when the problem might seem minuscule in the view of our whole life.

The fact is, that numbers can be hard to understand and people might mean different things with them. This becomes especially true when talking about the large amounts of money. For example, Washington State has a $6 billion shortfall. The United States trade deficit is about $40.4 billion. The bailout of the US economy could range upwards of $5 Trillion.

The question is, do people really understand how much that money is. I am not in this post making an argument for or against any type of bailout I just want people to understand how much money these numbers are. When somebody starts talking about numbers in this range, it becomes difficult to comprehend how much that really is and their exponential growth from lesser numbers.

For this example, if you could imagine somebody dropping a single dollar every second into a bottomless pit (I created a flash video that does just this, see below), the following would be how long it would take for the following numbers.

  • For $100 (one hundred) it would take 1 minute 40 seconds
  • For $1,000 (one thousand) it would take 16 minutes 40 seconds
  • For $1,000,000 (one million) it would take 11 hours 13 minutes and 47 seconds
  • For $1,000,000,000 (one billion) it would take 31 years 249 days 1 hour 46 minutes and 40 seconds
  • For $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) it would take 316 centuries 88 years 32 days 1 hour 46 minutes and 40 seconds

This Adobe Flash Video that I created (nothing too amazing)


Just a Bit Depreciated

Posted on Thursday January 8, 2009 by Jacob Campbell.

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. – George Washington Carver

 Snow on my garage's roof. Snow on my garage’s roof.

I truly believe that God comes and speaks to us though nature often. I don’t know how often I see something, and I’m just stuck by the view of it. The picture is of the snow on my garage. It warmed up today, and lots of the snow has melted. It has left ice and water in its wake. As I was standing outside, I was struck by how the snow looked on top of the room. Depreciated was the word that came to mind. Yesterday, it was full. The snow didn’t have blemishes, or weakness. It was brimming over the edges of all the buildings. One could almost say that it was overflowing. Now that has changed. The image really doesn’t capture (maybe I shouldn’t have relied on my cell phone).

It is like the snow has been filled with little pits. It looks almost weak and defeated. No offense to elderly people, but it almost looks like muscle that has atrophied. I saw this, and realized in some senses, this was how I felt. I feel as if I have lost some of the fire, the vigor of life. Its been depreciated, and started to melt away.

I know that I still have it, especially when it comes to working with at-risk youth. I just watched an episode of Flashpoint. When watching a TV show that showcases a teenager who is making it, dealing with all kinds of difficult situations touches you, you know that its something you have in your heart.

Adventure by the Fly

Posted on Sunday December 28, 2008 by Jacob Campbell.

 Ready to Roll Ready to Roll

When I got back from Europe, I thought I was done with my backpack for a while. Well, now that it’s Christmas time I figured it was OK to pick it back up. This year, I ended up working the whole week of Christmas (including Christmas and and the Eve) and I was sorely ready to head home and see friends and family for the holidays. I decided because of the amount of snowfall, that I might take the Train. This turned out to be a bad idea.

I got a call the night I was supposed to leave to head back to the Tri-Cities, from Amtrak. They told me that my train was running behind schedule and that would have to take a bus that they chartered. I did not realize that this would cut my weekend short.

Packed up my backpack, and headed out the door for a cold early morning walk downtown. I had decided that leaving my car would be the best thing, because of the limited parking next to to the train station. When I arrived at the the train station at about 2 am, I only had to wait about an hour for my bus to get ready to leave. Trading a train ride for a bus ride was not my favorite idea, but I figured at least it would get me home.

I got to spend the day with my mom and Gary. That night I went to Crossview Community Church’s Winter Chill Concert. It was pretty fun, and ended up hanging out playing Nertz until 3 am. I also got another call from Amtrak. They left a voicemail stating that my service was canceled, and that there was no other services set up. I was lucky enough to be able to find a ride back to Spokane from a friend. Generally my entire experience with Amtrak this winter was was stupid and cut my already short trip home even shorter.

Soldiering for Social Work

Posted on Saturday December 20, 2008 by Jacob Campbell.

 My Snow Covered Car My Snow Covered Car

Since the massive snow storm in Spokane, I have felt a little bit like a soldier going to work. I have also seen some things take place that I do not think where right. On Wednesday, 12/17/08, the snow started coming in heavy. I found myself staying much later at work, something I have found myself doing a lot lately, because of an open house at the Crisis Residential Center (CRC). Even with all of the snow, we still had a couple of people show up. When I was finally ready to leave there my car was completely covered, just like the roads all over Spokane. I was lucky though. Before leaving, we had to deal with some crisis’. Many of the youth who live at our center ride the buses back and forth to school. These buses just stopped running due to the snow. The STA choose to just drop our youth off at different bus stops or park and rides. I really must say that this made me very angry. I felt it was so wrong to just leave our kids. Many of them didn’t have cell phones, they tried calling us collect because they didn’t have any money for a pay phone.

If you can imagine a young, 13 year old, who doesn’t know their way around Spokane. Not having money or a cell phone, and not knowing where she was between where she was dropped off and the center. I can only imagine how afraid some of our kids were. I left before all of our kids had made it back, because I had already been there for 12 hours.

I was awakened early in the morning, being asked to come in for an extra shift. My car was completely snowed into the parking lot. I decided to take the bus to work, and was lucky enough to catch the last bus that would be running. This bus dropped me off downtown, making my walk only a half hour. The next morning I wasn’t so lucky. There where no buses running. Walking to work, meant trudging though the snow for almost one and half hours. I left my house just a little bit after 5:30 in the morning… much too early for my tastes. I would rather get off work that early in the morning then leave for work then. As I was getting ready these two morning, I couldn’t help like feeling like I was a soldier suiting up for war. I was getting ready for whatever would happen.

 A cartoon of the non-profit sector with A cartoon of the non-profit sector with “Give Something Back” written on vending machine. This cartoon was taken from Cartoon Stock

Both trudging thought the snow to work, hearing my coworkers experiences during the snow, and seeing how willing to help many of my coworkers were made me think about something. With the CRC being a non-profit, non of us get paid very much. I make less now with my BA in Social Work, than I did before I earned my AA degree. I wonder how many of the employees at DSHS would have walked to work. I think there is something about the non-profit community organization sector that instills more passion for the work that they do then is in the public social work sector.

Please hear me, I’m not saying that people who work for the state, or other such positions are not as passionate for the clients that they work with. I just think that is a different view point from people who work form community-based non-profit organizations then those who work in the public sector. Really, I am just amazed with the people that I work with and the extra hours I see them put in whether or not they get compensated for them.

Information Overload

Posted on Saturday December 13, 2008 by Jacob Campbell.

I’m not exactly sure if it’s information overload, but getting off work tonight I felt like my brain was going to explode. I woke up this morning to go to a meeting with my research group mates. We needed to prepare for our Institutional Board Review meeting regarding our research project. We are looking into the effectiveness of one of the programs where I work. It should be really interesting when everything is all said and done.

The Institutional Review Board meeting was really interesting and got into a lot of really great information. We have a number of edits to make, but all of them are fairly minor. I really believe that the many hours me and my group have put into our project were well spent in creating a great product. After deciding to get together first thing tomorrow to make a majority of the edits, I was off to home to send a flurry of emails and then to work.

I got to work over a half hour early, but I guess that I should have gotten there much earlier. I’ve been working in some off time on creating a database in MS Access to store information on various grants. It’s been kind of cool to spend time working with databases, because it’s not an area I have a lot of experience in yet. Anyways, as soon as I came in, I was demonstrating and talking about the database. As my shift started, I took a minute to prepare for my family session that I would be facilitating. This family is the first that I will be working with all the way through. It went well, but the rest of the day seemed non stop. Leading group felt like a failure… but I guess that happens sometimes and it is really difficult to try to teach a group of teenagers about taking responsibility for themselves.

All in all, I guess I’m just a bit tired and ready for to actually seem like winter break. Maybe next week, but I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I also heard an interesting story on NPR (well, actually I think it was Australia’s public radio) about a website that Australia just started. It’s called Talking Works. It’s a pretty interesting idea. The website is basically to reach out to youth in Australia who are “missing,” i.e. ran away from home or something like that. I don’t think that we have anything as youth focused here in the states, and I liked the format of the site. I wonder if it would be something that might be productive to have here in the US.

Legislative Breakfast

Posted on Thursday December 11, 2008 by Jacob Campbell.

 A stock photo of breakfast. A stock photo of breakfast.

My mom keeps telling me that I will need to change my sleeping schedule to more regular hours as I enter into more professional arenas. Waking up at 6:30 am this morning I decided that this is probably true. I got up before there was light this morning so that I could attend Children’s Alliances’ legislative breakfast in Spokane. This event both provoked me to better service and gave me a better perspective on on the shape of Washington’s economy.

The event took place at the Native Project’s wonderful facilitates. I got the opportunity to see many people who I have worked with from the School of Social Work at Eastern, Juvenile Court, and YFA Connections. Senator Lisa Brown also came and spoke.

We spent time looking at what Principles are needed for budget decisions in tough times. I found it particularly powerful to hear Representative Timm Ormsby described one of his views on budgets. He said that the things that we choose to fund in our budgets really show our values. The lobbyist for Children’s Alliance, Teresa Mosqueda explained their five legislative focuses for the 2009 legislature. Lisa Brown talked about the six billion budget shortfall that Washington State is looking at and some of what that might mean for social service organizations.

 The Line Up is a graphic that I made in Adobe Photoshop ( see the [PSD File](/assets/media/micro-mezzo-macro-root-help-photoshop-file.psd) ). It is to showcase the importance of helping the individual and the fixing the root of the problem when working with people. In  Social Work  we call this working at the Micro, Mezzo, and Macro Levels. The Line Up is a graphic that I made in Adobe Photoshop ( see the PSD File ). It is to showcase the importance of helping the individual and the fixing the root of the problem when working with people. In Social Work we call this working at the Micro, Mezzo, and Macro Levels.

One thing that I did not hear talked about was adolescents. There was a lot of focus regarding young children and there needs, but seemed to be lacking care for teenagers. The only lobby focus that Children’s Alliance is having regarding teenagers would be health care coverage for every child by 2010 and foster care reform. Neither of these are focused on adolescents, they would just be helped as a type of by product. I firmly believe in programs focused on young children. This will elevate the need for some services when they become adolescents. This is a sort of macro focus for working with adolescents. We need to solve some of the issues that cause them to need services later in life. This is vital, but just as vital is to help those at risk youth now (a kind of micro and mezzo focus). We have a responsibility to continue to provide services to those who are right in front of us.