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July 08, 2010

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Jonathan Timm

It's interesting to see that structure and lack of structure can be either a help or a hinderance depending on the setting, and of course on myriad other things. You've expressed more than once that the lack of rigid structure at Deborah's Place is part of what helps it function. Here in Peru, I've experienced the opposite. The community center in which I work offers classes in English and computers, among other things, but the classes aren't scheduled rigidly and there's no sign up process or entrance fee. A problem that occurs, in part I think because of this lack of structure, is that students will just stop showing up. I only have two students, and it's looking like one of them just dropped. I know people who teach English to just 3 students, and sometimes one. So it's insightful for me to hear that in other settings, lack of structure can be essential. I'd love to see you write more about how it does so.

Taylor Buck

Jonathan -- That's what I'm planning to write my thesis on...how the seemingly contradictory lack of structure is imperative to DP's fuctionality and success, and what this means for activism. Or something along those lines. So, you'll be hearing plenty more about it from Yours Truly, promise.

Taylor Buck

Another thought: it's not necessarily lack of structure that I'm interested in, or that is necessary for Deborah's Place, though that is a by-product of our praxis, I suppose. But I think you can still have structure, rules and requirements without imposing a specific ideology or "Truth."

Jonathan Timm

Yeah, I guess I'm not so much worried about imposing ideologies or truth, but in an organization like Deborah's Place, what is the most helpful to people. Problems that tend to come from lack of structure are things like inconsistent follow-through from clients that ultimately wastes case-managers' time. Or a bunch of other things could be prolematic because of the lack of rigid structure, just on functional levels. I'm not skeptical that the fluidity of Deborah's Place serves it well, I'm just interested in why it seems to work so well. Keep up the kickin ass.

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