KUHF-Houston Public Radio's "This I Believe" with Joshua Reynolds

Josh calls himself a "geographical mutt." He lived in eight states prior to Texas. His father was a pastor and they lived in all those places for three years and then it was on to the next assignment. He says he learned about all the regional cultures. He says the United States really consists of many languages and lifestyles. Josh says Texas is his favorite...not because of the weather, but because of the people. Josh says for the first time, he has a "home" with relationships that have lasted more than a decade.

Josh believes our views of the world are shaped by our experiences we're all creatures of our environment. In his role as a social-worker, Josh can apply his belief set in a way that makes a difference...helping better people's environment and giving people the training to better their lives. Josh's double-major (MSW-MBA) blends his skills and interests in the best way possible. He's now prepared to not only help the less fortunate, but organizations that provide the needed services. Josh says his business training helps him be a more fiscally responsible social service provider. It's his practical approach to his profession.

Here's Joshua Reynolds with his essay for KUHF's This I Believe.
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"I believe in the dignity and worth of everyone. I know, this sounds like something social workers put on holiday cards, and it is. I should know, because I'm a social worker who puts sayings like this on holiday cards.

It sounds nice — dignity and worth of the person. But I believe that a nice concept or theory without action is hollow. As a social worker at Family Services of Greater Houston, I work with and on behalf of people who have not been treated with dignity and have been told over and over that they do not possess worth.

I was blessed to have two parents who loved me, built my self-esteem, and molded my character. I didn't realize what a gift it was until I saw the absence of these things in the lives of clients. I've also looked around at the successful people I know, and they all share one trait in common — confidence that comes from self-worth.

So when I'm working with a client on their current problem, I'm also thinking about what they need to be successful in the long run. More often than not, it is the confidence that comes from self-worth. With a belief in themselves, they can accomplish almost anything. I teach them to fish, but more importantly I teach them that they CAN fish.

So how does this belief translate into action? I make car loans to single mothers, many of whom had the courage to leave bad relationships but ruined their credit in the process. They can't get a car loan in the traditional marketplace, and the predatory sector is designed to make them fail.

The program I work in, Ways to Work, not only provides the loan, we provide financial education and a one-on-one mentoring relationship. What the program doesn't do is give handouts or grants. By repaying the loan, these women rebuild their credit and their self-worth. Should these loans even be made? Not according to their credit score. The loans are character loans — saying 'yes' and taking a chance on someone when the world is telling them 'no'. And I've learned that most people would prefer a chance to succeed with repaying a loan as opposed to accepting a handout.

I believe in the dignity and worth of everyone. I believe words without actions are hollow. I believe my relative blessings in life are an obligation to help others. And for me, this means saying 'yes' to people, so they can start saying 'yes' to themselves. This I believe."

 

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