Resident Empowerment Theory Paper

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Social work students and professionals have opportunities to organize community gardens, which will allow guiding communities toward empowerment and working toward social equality and justice at a macro level. Kam (2014) called social justice "the crucial mandate of social workers," and indeed, it was the goal of pioneering social workers such as Jane Addams. While social work as a profession has moved away from macro work in recent decades, there still exists a need for this important work. Working with social disadvantaged groups with the goal of social justice, Kam wrote (2014), is the primary mission of social work and is what sets social work apart from other professionals. Urban community gardens present just one of many options available for macro level social workers to engage in and organize.
Many residents of inner cities may not have the skills or knowledge needed for successfully establishing and maintaining a garden that produces healthy fruits and vegetables. The soil found in vacant lots may be contaminated or of poor quality, access to water may be restricted, and there may be pest infestations (Gregory et al., 2015).
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Empowerment theory seeks to achieve social justice and equality by organizing communities, providing knowledge and advocacy to members, and encouraging collaboration. Before a community can become empowered, the members must see the path to taking control of their own decisions and having authority over their lives and communities. As community members work together, they will likely become more familiar and comfortable with other members who are from various racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, which is a step toward social justice in itself. Learning to collaborate on common goals and projects will result in community members becoming stronger advocates for themselves and lead to a sense of

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