Dec 2, 2017
Today Hannah and I went back to the soup kitchen after being gone for two weeks. It was really cool today because everyone seemed really happy. One woman ran in and told us she had just gotten her own place. Someone else told us he had gotten a job after searching for so long. There were also a ton of donations we were able to give to the guests such as pasta, squash, and even dog food. The basket that we bring around for people to pick items out of, was filled to the top. Lunch was served and we had meatloaf, mac and cheese, and apple sauce. After mostly everyone ate and left, Hannah and I went out and sat with three of the remaining guests. We got to meet two of them for the first time and they were really friendly. It was cool to get to talk to them since a lot of the time it can be difficult. They are either absorbed in other conversations or busy eating and they are not allowed into the kitchen. I talked to one man who comes in often. All the volunteers love him. He told me that he went to school to become a history teacher but then ended up becoming a chef for 18 years. I thought it was interesting to talk to them because it felt like talking to friends. The facts I learned about him are random enough that I would only know them about my friends and not just complete strangers. After talking for a bit, Hannah and I cleaned up and went back to campus. It was a really good day at the soup kitchen and I hope spirits are just as high next week.
Posted at 02:36 pm by bresmo01
Dec 1, 2017
Week 10-Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen-Hannah Wevodau
Today was an especially cheerful day at the soup kitchen. One of the visitors I have become close with has secured a new job in the kitchen of a local restaurant! While he still must stay in the C.A.R.E.S. shelter, the new job is bringing a great deal of hope. Another regular visitor had good news as well, informing all of us that she had recently secured housing. In her words “They say it’s the projects or something like that but it’s great I love it. It’s my own space.” There was also an overabundance of donations to fill the basket three times and for all the visitors to pick two items. I think this surplus in donations is partially due to the increase in altruism that seems to spark during the holiday season. I wish this same magnitude in compassion was a year round affair, and not simply a seasonal urge to improve the lives of others resulting from the generous attitudes promoted during the holiday season. Then again, I’m not sure I am in any position to criticize the motivations of others to aid those experiencing poverty since, prior to coming to Gettysburg, I had little to no awareness of the ways I was able to help these individuals, let alone the hardships they face. Coming up on the end of the semester I am struck by how drastically my worldview has shifted in terms of the way I view poverty. I have become close with so many of the individuals experiencing the strife of homelessness and poverty in America. Their stories and friendships have illuminated a world to which I was previously entirely oblivious. In reading Stringer’s Grand Central Winter this week I have found myself thinking over the severity of the public neglect those experiencing homelessness are subject to as a result of the ignorance present in most privileged individuals. In Stringer’s words, “Mostly I am anonymous, Invisible. They see a phenomenon to which they have already adjusted. I make no deeper impression on their consciousness than the taxicabs, endlessly cruising outside, do on the pedestrians (46). I feel ashamed that I was once this oblivious. To think that I may have once looked down on these individuals with whom I have become friends makes me feel disturbed and disappointed in myself. I am so thankful for everything I have learned this semester and for those individuals who have made such an immense impact on my worldview. I am not looking forward to this class ending and I don’t plan on ever straying from the Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen.
Posted at 08:11 pm by Hannah Wevodau
Nov 29, 2017
BBBS Update and Research Paper
I have finally heard back from the Adams County Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization about my placement and it turns out that there was actually an issue of not enough people applying to be in the program. So in order for the program to be run at any specific school there must be at least two children interested in the BBBS program, and people just weren't applying. However applications finally started flowing in and although all my paper work is done and I have been placed at Franklin, the program has chosen to start sending us during the spring semester because there are only two full weeks left in the semester. They want to ensure consistency in the relationships in order for us to get to know our little as well as for them to get to know and trust us.
For the final research assignment I chose the topic of reproductive healthcare for people, especially women living on the streets. I have done research and read articles on issues such as: rape, domestic violence, menstruation, pregnancy, STDS, STIS, trade sex, contraceptives, public policy, professional stigma, racism, sexism, and many other factors that contribute to the issue of reproductive healthcare for people experiencing homelessness. One of the main pieces of international policy which I found aimed at the advancement and correction of global policy and action in reproductive and sexual health car for the homeless and impoverished was through the World Health Organization and is known as Millemial Health Goals. The program was implemented in 2000 by the United Nations and was a 8 step global plan to irradiate poverty and specifically to address the unfunded issues of homelessness including women's healthcare and sexual health. I have found a lot of great sources through the academic search premier search engine the library provided and I am currently typing my sixth page and working on my outline.
Posted at 10:34 pm by Katie Mercer
Support Circles #8-Pugliese
November 29th, 2017. Tonight was a few more volunteers than usual but we had around 8-10 kids so it was fine to have more volunteers. This is the second to last week at circles and I've really enjoyed my time there. I spoke with the program coordinator and she brought up the point of how at school we only see teachers and other students so it's nice to have a break once a week and play with some younger faces. It definitely makes me miss babysitting back home and being able to just play and color for a few hours. The week during finals they plan to have Circles Christmas which I'm not sure I'll be able to make it to since I have two exams on Thursday but I'll try. I think next semester I am going to try to make it to Circles at least once a month and get a break from campus. Next week will most likely be my last for the semester so I will make the most of it. I hope that next semester when I return there are some new faces both in Circles and with the volunteers. It was pretty calm tonight with the kids as we just played with legos, marbles, colored, and the kitchen set. We all gathered around and took a big photo of everyone saying we were thankful for the Circles program.
Posted at 09:06 pm by Scarlett Pugliese
This time at Support Circles was very interesting. It's the second to last week that I will be there until next semester. We had around eight kids tonight and six volunteers. As always, the proportion of volunteers to kids was almost equal. Although this might be seen as a fault to some extent, it does allow the volunteers to bond with the kids and really focus on them. Too many kids are left out of usual programs because the volunteers can't focus their attention on them. This setting is very good and provides many opportunities to form a relationship with the kids in my opinion. As always, Morgan did a very admirable job at keeping everything organized and making sure all of the kids were safe and having fun. I've recently considered applying for a program coordinator position at CPS, and volunteering with Morgan over these past few months has really provided me with a good example for how I want to be in that role if I am seen as fit for it. It will be bittersweet to leave SCCAP for over a month, but I am happy with the time I have had there so far. I'm sure I will have a lot more reflective thoughts after next week.
Posted at 08:24 pm by Ryan Mahokey
Today at the soup kitchen was fun, I saw a lot of familiar faces. I love the ladies I work with, but I was sad that it was Jan's last day. She has done so much for this soup kitchen but I can understand that she was ready to move on. I sat with a nice gentelman at the end at talked to him about cheerleading. He used to work security for the local high schools and he would be at the games and direct the buses. He told me of all these injuries that happened and the cool students they did. He told me that cheer was a real sport and to not listen to anyone who says otherwise, which I appreciated. I have seen him in the soup kitchen before, he's friends with Glen but Glen wasn't there today. A new family came in right before we closed. They had two daughters in middle school. They seemed nice, but I felt bad that the girls were not in school that day. I spoke to Rita for a little while, her sister just passed away and she's having a tough time. She loves the desserts we serve and she stays at the soup kitchen almost the whole time because she likes the social aspect. I did not see the man that was making a disturbance for Kiera when she went yesterday. I also didn't see the four kids I babysat last week, which I was bummed about. Overall, it was another good, but busy day and my second to last trip to the Soup Kitchen this semester.
Posted at 07:37 pm by Maddi Devey
Nov 27, 2017
DC Reflection October 11, 2017
This reflection is long overdue, but as more time has passed, the importance of the DC trip was more clearly reflected. Upon our arrival to DC, I was frustrated. I wanted to see my family and was not particularly excited to be on the trip. Previous to this trip, I had been to DC multiple times. Each time I was incredibly disheartened by the amount of people experiencing homelessness in our nation's capital. During this time, the irony of this stung. When one is actively looking for homeless encampments, they can be found dotted across the city. In every neighborhood. On the mornings that we walked over to DC Central Kitchen, a group of roughly ten young black men were camped on the steps of one of the national judicial buildings. As we wished them a good morning, men in suit jackets sped past without looking at them. The visual neglect the group of young men experienced was difficult to see as it seemed to indicate clear racial divides between the white males in suits and the group of young black men. A discussion we had at Luther Place with Sarah centered around racism, and the various ways it has embedded itself in American culture. We collectively discussed three different types of racism: personalized, institutional, and cultural. To conclude, these three types were combined to discuss structural racism which is the combined impact of personal, institutional, and cultural racism. Something important I learned was that structural racism does not require intent to work, and can been seen within, across, and between many institutions. Sarah made a clear distinction between prejudice and racism; she discussed that racism is two part being both prejudice and power. However, prejudice does not have this power component to it. The discussion of racism has encouraged self reflection, and I consciously work to challenge my own preconceived notions of different groups.
Posted at 11:24 pm by Grace Bowen
Nov 26, 2017
This week was Thanksgiving Break, which meant i was home for the week. I was able to volunteer with a few of the organizations that I volunteered with in high school. It was so nice to see friendly faces and catch up with the people that I spend a good portion of my time with in high school. It is always nice to go back and pick up where you left off, as if I never left at all.
Posted at 11:00 am by gabiscolpino
Nov 24, 2017
Gettysburg Cares overnight
My overnight at Gettysburg Cares was overall a good experience that I benefited from. Before I arrived at the location in which we were going to stay I was very nervous and uncomfortable. Staying overnight alone at the shelter was outside of my comfort zone. All my nerves slowly disappeared after I walked into the Cares facility and was greeted by so many nice people. They were all very welcoming and happy to see a young volunteer. I also encountered many people that I have seen on my runs throughout town which was very surprising to me. I would have never assumed that they were homeless and living in the shelter. The rest of my night was very easy going and went smoothly. I arrived at the church and set up my bed. Many of the people staying in the shelter were tired so they all got into bed. Unfortunately I was unable to make conversation with the residents because they were all getting ready for bed. The light were also turned off a little early. I slept pretty well and made it back to campus safely the next day. I learned a lot from my experience at the shelter. I had a strong stereotypical idea that shelters were dangerous and people would not be friendly but that was not the case at Gettysburg cares. It was also very different seeing people who are experiencing homelessness first hand rather than just reading about it in books. I am glad I was able to have this experience.
Posted at 11:28 am by Sara Howard
Nov 17, 2017
Last night I stayed overnight at the First Baptist church with Gettysburg CARES. I was extremely nervous about the while experience because I didn't want to do or say the wrong thing, but once I arrived at the CARES office I was greeted by some of the kindest people I have ever met. I sat down and within ten seconds a couple had come up to me and we started to chit chat about the weather, Buffalo(where I was born), ice-cream, and even the random topic of leaving the seat up. This couple was hilarious and they had obviously been guests at Gettysburg CARES for a long time because they took the initiative to show me around as well as help any new people who had questions.
I heard conversations about their lives and how they ended up in the situation they are in now, most completely out of their control. Whether it be a personal illness or a family emergency, some the people were forced into this spot and not given many options of getting out. When we were waiting for the van to take us to the church I had the opportunity to talk with another woman who discussed her life and music career with me, however she was also the most willing to talk with me about her faith(although I did not ask). She also was one of the most passionate people to share at the optional devotion service that was given once we arrived at the church. She spoke about some of the things she struggled with early in life and how her eyes were opened to God and that has given her hope through all the current and future struggles in her life. Hearing her story made me very emotional not only because of her passion but about her resiliency. There was a real point of reflection in my time at Gettysburg CARES that involved the realization that the guests at CARES manage to be kind, caring, and open even with all their other struggles.
This truly opened my eyes and made me think about all the times I had maybe neglected or been rude to someone, when there was a better way. However, I did get a happy and humorous interactions with one of the guests who I frequently pass and say "hi" to on my runs through the village. We had just casually greeted one another before but when I arrived at CARES he said "hey you're the runner girl." This made me happy to know that our interactions meant something as well as provided a nice ice breaker for the rest of the night. Overall I feel lucky to have gone to CARES and would gladly do it again.
Posted at 03:56 pm by Katie Mercer