A large percentage of humans stay focused in this world on securing food, shelter, and safety. This is their economic reality.
A large percentage of humans desire to belong to a group, socialize within it, and feel loved. This is their emotional reality.
Thus believed Maslow.
Maslow also believed there is a tiny sliver of humans who thirst after self-actualization.
Self-actualizing people are involved in a cause outside their own skin, devoted and passionate to that cause. Writers must write. Musicians must make music. Artist must paint.
If those needs are not met, the person feels on edge, tense, and lacking something.
You are working with the marginalized. To me that means you care about serving others and are in some phase of self-actualizing.
The marginalized people you have chosen to help are not self-actualizing. They are trying to rise above their current circumstances, whether they be economical, emotional, or both.
Regardless of their age, they hunger for stability. They hunger for identity.
Moving them from one reality to another requires them to start knowing who they are, what moves them, and how do they get over what will block their progress.
In other words, “Why am I here and what should I be doing with my life.”
Unfortunately, organizations like yours who help marginalized populations don’t have the resources to holistically help their participants answer this big-time question.
Unfortunately, due to multiple reasons, these organizations can only focus on one or two aspects of their participants’ economic or emotional reality – a job, GED, counseling, etc.
This is not a criticism. It’s just another reality we live in.
It is highly unlikely you can help your participants get anywhere near the self-actualization phase of life.
However, here’s a seed you can plant in them along their journey with you…
…any goal that begins with the words, “My goal is to have…” is likely to bring unhappiness. Goals that help you self-actualize begin, “I will serve people by….”
Ask the people you are helping to think about who they would like to serve in life once they grow up. It might make their hearts go a little pitter patter.
Just talking out loud here…