The Befriending Leader: Social Assistance without Dependency (Essays by Octavia Hill, edited by James L. Payne)
Over 100 years ago, an Englishwoman who devoted her life to working with the poor set down the principles of real charity. You cannot help people, Octavia Hill declared, by giving materialistic doles and handouts. Real help comes through establishing friendly, mentoring relationships.
In this age of impersonal welfare bureaucracies, the theory and strategy of personally focused assistance has been all but lost. These essays of Octavia Hill, recounting her experiences with the poor and the lessons learned, bring to life her creative, truly compassionate approach.
(88 pages, with an introduction by James L. Payne, published 1997)
I am amazed at how contemporary her wisdom is. She speaks to our present predicament of ineffective care of our poor with laser clarity.
Robert Lupton, President, FCS Urban Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Octavia Hill emerges from these essays as the mother of tough love, working her way through some of Victorian Englands poorest areas, not dispensing goodies, but befriending people in need and challenging them to self-betterment. Miss Hills essays ought to be studied by anyone who seeks an effective model for non-sentimental programs of charity.
Father Robert A. Sirico, President, The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.
The goal of social work and welfare assistance, as Octavia Hill understood, is to transform lives. Her vision and example at the end of the nineteenth century can help us do better in the twenty-first century.
Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, President, Religion and Public Life.
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