The World Bank has identified the use of “Cash Transfer Payments” as a way to bring change in people’s lives. This is the starting point for us. In 1988 when The Back Door staff began using cash bonuses this was considered very risky and outside the traditional way of thinking. As a person follows the work of the World Bank it can be seen that the use of cash has proven to be very positive. If there is a debate it is over how cash will be used. In many situations a reward will be given to achieve a task. At The Back Door we chose to say a person will be “rewarded” for intentionally choosing to think through and make a decision to better their own lives. This action comes before the accomplishment of a designated task. The reward actually becomes an incentive to begin a longer term plan to design a goal structure. Many would debate that this is a moot argument. It is however our contention that much of what goes on in the social service arena deals with imposed agendas. After a while “clients” learn the system and a reverse incentive is actually created. “Clients” become “rewarded” to participate in a welfare mentality.
Our world is full of agendas. Many of our young people have known lives of imprisonment, dysfunctional families, addictions and uncertainties due to the ebb and flow of social service and political systems. At The Back Door the emphasis was on giving back life. When a person chose to get a job or find a place to live, that action was deemed a reward in and of itself. We gave $15 to the person who said ‘I’. When a person chose to say they want to take control and responsibility for themselves that is what was/is rewarded. We did not pretend that we live in a world full of people and programs that were able to deliver on “hope filled” promises. Our young people had become graduates of systems that were not sustainable. Program after program started and then ceased to exist. For that reason our contract was created to be with oneself. You are your own program. Use and take advantage of what others have to offer but remember when they are gone it is still your life. Say thank you and be ready to move on.