Dec 6, 2017
Tonight was my last night at Support Circles for the semester. I definitely plan on attending next semester with Morgan as well. Tonight was yet another laid back night. The adults prepared for their holiday party happening next week, and we watched a group of about six kids downstairs. The group of helpers included Me, Morgan, Emily, Lily, and a new helper named Patrick. We played some games with the kids and Morgan wrote a story about "St. John the Christmas Turtle" to go along with a drawing of a turtle that a girl had done. Tonight was yet another night where I realized why I was in Support Circles. I got to talk to the kids and help them with their games and even their drawing. And it was great to see them having fun and enjoying themselves. The time I have spent there has allowed me to escape from myself for a little bit each week. I won't lie that some weeks I have dreaded going due to the work I had to do, but when I got there I would always get some enjoyment out of talking to Morgan and playing with the kids. Too many students live in apathy without doing a lot of real service for the community around them. And without this class, I can't say that I wouldn't have been the same way. This class taught me a lot about poverty and what it does to families. Seeing it firsthand at Support Circles really brought home the concepts taught in class. Seeing the perseverance and dedication of the people to make their way out of poverty was a great encouragement to me and a testament to the human spirit. I am grateful for all of my experiences with the class and in Support Circles, and I can honestly say it gave me a new perspective that will affect me in my service from here on out.
Posted at 09:00 pm by Ryan Mahokey
Today was my last day at the soup kitchen and it was a bittersweet experience. It was my first visit to the soup kitchen without Jan, which was definitely different and I walked into her office half-expecting her to be there. I saw the usual ladies at the soup kitchen and we served beef stew today. It was very packed in the dining room--every seat was filled for the majority of the time. I saw some familiar faces and some new faces as well. There were not any kids there today, but there was one boy that came alone at the end, he looked like he was a high schooler or maybe a little older. We finished a little early because everyone finished their meal pretty early. I enjoyed talking to one couple who have seen many times before. They normally eat a couple bowls of soup each and even though we were cleaning up and getting ready to close the kitchen I offered them both a third bowl. I could tell they did not want to ask for another seconds because they could see us packing up, but I knew from passed experience here that they always had three or more. They accepted it graciously and I knew they appreciated it, afterall we weren't really in a rush at all. I think I will continue to work at the soup kitchen through next semester but I have to see how it will fit in with my class schedule. Overall, it has been a very positive experience and I'm glad I had the chance to do it.
Posted at 01:52 pm by Maddi Devey
11/14- Nearing the end of the semester, I reflect upon my experience at the soup kitchen as, well, good. However, is the experience good enough where I would do it as a job? Supervisor Jan Guillory is retiring from the position next week, and I’ve recently been observing how much she actually does behind the scenes. To follow in her shoes, the future supervisor will have to take on tasks that require effort and focus-- the job can be tedious. However, from what I’ve witnessed the future supervisor will reap many rewards. This includes personal connections with clients and volunteers, yummy food, pay, and the chance to witness changing a small piece of someone’s life. Without someone like Jan, the soup kitchen wouldn’t be running. I’m sad to see her go, but excited to watch her procedure take on a new challenge while I, myself, continue to go through the routine
Posted at 12:14 pm by GBFY198SLJournal
11/28- Today was the first real occurrence at the soup kitchen where someone posed a threat to other clients. A man named Greg stalked up to the counter Tuesday morning, asking hurriedly for Jan. While waiting, he made several rude comments about the kitchen and the food to my fellow volunteers. Jan tried to seat the man, and gave his wife forms to fill out. While the wife sat herself at a table, Greg exclaimed that there were no seats and proceeded to take a seat on the floor. Upon intervention by Jan, Greg used a demanding tone of voice and refused to cooperate. Pete was then signalled out of the kitchen by Jan and removed Greg from the floor. Though the issue was resolved, it’s the first time in the months that I’ve been volunteering that there was ny conflict, and it made the day’s visit memorable.
Posted at 12:13 pm by GBFY198SLJournal
12/5/17- Today after I was done serving and moved to wash off the tables and chairs in the dining room, a stocky, taller man confronted me to ask me about finals. He launched into a story about typewriters and how easy school work is now that things are digital. The man talked for awhile, but at the end of his breath thanked me from the bottom of his heart for taking time out of my day to come serve, especially before I leave for the holiday. I was knuckle deep in bleach-water cleaning plastic wrap table clothes, however I heard the man and what he said had a monumental impact. Reflecting on the experience, my response to the man, “It’s my pleasure,” couldn’t ring more true. This semester at the soup kitchen has really been a pleasure.
Posted at 12:13 pm by GBFY198SLJournal
Dec 5, 2017
As I still have and will not be placed in BBBS until the beginning of next semester I have been able to really go in depth into my research topic. I chose the topic of reproductive healthcare in the homeless population, and I titled my essay (or at least my working title) is Reproductive Healthcare in the Homeless Population: Sex, Shelter, and Social Injustice. One of the most interesting and important topics was that of trade sex in the youth homeless, especially female, population. Before delving into my research I knew that even in housing secure interactions sex is used as a form of currency, but for someone experiencing homelessness it can be the difference between life and death.
Young women especially engage in trade sex to gain necessary resources for survival: food, shelter, safety, and material goods. Women will even trade sexual favors in order to stay with a male companion on the streets just to increase their safety, because a large proportion of women on the streets are fleeing abusive relationships and family situations, only to be confronted with issues of violence on the streets.
Through the little trauma I have experienced I could not imagine a situation where the prospect of rape, pregnancy, STDS, and STIS was more favorable than anything. But the hopelessness and isolation experienced by people living on the streets can be one of the most painful experiences, more painful than any physical ailment. These women are survivors and sacrifice their bodies, and when trying to receive medical treatment they are judged for it.
The apathy of clinic doctors and physicians dealing with low income or homeless patients was also shocking to me. My mom is in the medical field and I have worked side by side with her in a foot clinic in Syracuse, NY for the poor. All the practitioners there were caring and empathetic to the plight of these people, and I can't imagine why anyone would enter into the medical field without having empathy for the trauma of human existence and compassion for people's struggles.
Posted at 10:43 pm by Katie Mercer
Dec 4, 2017
El Centro October 18, 2017
Over the past couple of weeks, there has seemed to be a lot of tears shed in the kindergarten room. Today, it was Meryangie. She has been struggling with listening to the teacher, Mrs. B, and frequently refuses to complete her work. When repeatedly asked to work on her worksheets, she wordlessly shook her head and put her head down. After much prodding, the tears began, and did not cease until she was asked if she wanted to go home. Usually this is not an option presented to kids; however, her mother was coming early to pick up Meryangie's older brother in first grade. Her older brother had been causing issues in the first grade with his refusal to do work and resorting to crying to get out of doing work. With no sign of the behavior ceasing, he was suspended from attending El Centro for a week. This suspension was used to encourage him to complete his work. However, the usage of this suspension inadvertently penalized his family as well. Both of his parents work, and the mother's job did not allow her to pick up her children from school or El Centro until 4 pm. With her son's suspension, the mother would lose her job which would hurt the family as a whole. Instead of risking the mother's job, Professor Olinger, head of El Centro, decided to allow the suspended kid to come to El Centro until 4 pm so that the mother could keep her job.
Posted at 07:44 pm by Grace Bowen
Tomorrow is my last day at the soup kitchen this semester. It has not always been easy to fit the kitchen into my schedule on wednesdays because I take classes from 8-11 then work at the soup kitchen from 11-1. I am normally exhausted afterwards because I am always on my feet the whole time. I don't know how all of the older ladies do it because even when I was in cheerleading season I was always tired Wednesday afternoons. This is the first time I will be at the kitchen without Jan, I'm sad that she left but I know it is what she needed to do and a change she needed to make in her life. Maybe working at the soup kitchen tomorrow will help me generate some more ideas about my research paper topic.
Posted at 04:43 pm by Maddi Devey
This the last week of classes and unfortunately, I never made it the soup kitchen in town. I am still extremely determined to get there, however this week being the week before finals and my first college final being less than a week away, I once again am unable to go this week. Next semester I will make my way there for sure. I love what this class has offered me and how I plan on continuing my service in the long term.
Posted at 11:36 am by gabiscolpino
Dec 2, 2017
This week, I went to another Campus Kitchen shift. There were two other people volunteering with me, and we made some ravioli lasagna concoction that Lexus came up with. It looked pretty good in the end, though my noodle-laying abilities were not that great. We also made apple crisp, and served cauliflower on the side. It was a pretty low-stress shift, and we got everything done pretty early. One thing I've noticed at Campus Kitchen is that they never really have perishable items, so eggs and butter aren't options. Instead, they use oil, shortening, or some other substitute. This really limits what gets made, and I think this is a big reason why they normally heat up food, rather than making it from scratch. Although there's no real way to get around this, I feel like it ruins some of the philosophy that we learned at D.C. Central Kitchen. There is a great deal of emphasis on not only giving people food, but giving them good food. Instead of getting a nice, home-cooked meal, the people we serve are really just getting heated-up leftovers. I think that this probably isn't a problem that can really be solved by Campus Kitchen, but it is a shame.
Posted at 03:18 pm by katedelaney__