This week at my site was very productive. I finally felt comfortable at the site and was able to look past dividing lines. I felt like I really helped someone this week and am very excited to return next week and see where it takes me.
Architecture and therefore the built environment definitely portrays a phenomena. We all receive some sort of connection between ourselves and the environment surrounding us. Overtime the built environment has become our home. It is where we work, sleep, relax, play, and basically live. Therefore, we perceive and interact our environment in a variety of different ways using a variety of senses. By using the sense of touch people are able to physically become part of their environment. We all react to our environment and our surroundings in a different way. Our built environment becomes something different for everyone and therefore has different phenomenon with different people. Because of the fact that we spend so much time within our built environment it is hard for us not to interact or be effected by it.
This week there was no one in the tutoring center so it was a pretty uneventful hour. However, later that day I attended my orientation of community service from the university. It pretty much covered everything that I was taught in my orientation with the program I am working with. It was still insightful and brought to light the same things that I am trying to get used to, that there are many reasons why people are where they are and everyone needs a little help or boost at some point in their lives.
When I take a look at the things going on around me I often feel helpless. I see this path of destruction that the world seems to follow and know that this path is not going to lead us to anything pleasant. At the same time I feel like I am powerless to stop society from following this path. How do you stop and suggest a different approach? Who will really listen? I know that I am not the only one that feels like our world is heading in a bad direction, but like most, have no idea how to stop it. The only solution that I can think of is getting back to the basics. In today’s society most people only care about one thing, themselves. People need to understand that sure they may be living their own lives, but the way they live their lives affects others and the way other people live their lives affects them. We are all linked together and what affects one affects the whole. As Americans with a good education we must reflect on the gifts we have been given and figure out how to use these in a way that benefits the whole. As I said before I have no idea how to defer society from the path in which we are on, but I know that it needs to be done. Unfortunately, after any national disaster Americans usually get involved in one way or another and understand that even if we were not there physically we were still affected, but when something happens in another country people don’t usually talk about it. That is a sign that a change is necessary, we are only concerned about what is happening in our own backwards. People need to take a look at themselves and think, what would you do if you were not here and as privileged as you have been, what you do if you were one of the 2.8 billion people living in extreme poverty?
I am only able to volunteer on Mondays and unfortunitly this monday happened to be President's Day. This means that the students were not in class and therefore I did not need to go in. This week off has allowed me to look through the material that the students are learning in order to be better prepared to help them.
This week I started tutoring at a school in North Minneapolis. I was worried about going and what it would be like when I got there. However, once I did get there I was able to jump right in and actually help someone. All the feelings of nervousness, uncertainty and fear disappeared. The particular program I am in is very flexible and still working out some kinks in the program. I have talked with one of the people working out those kinks in hopes that I will be able to volunteer more then the one hour a week I am available to be there. The reason that there is possibility for me working more is because it takes me an hour and a half to get there on the bus. After my service this week I really hope that I can contribute more.
I believe that the majority of our society's problems falls on one main category; poverty. It is because of people not being able to afford a home that homelessness is an issue. The quality of education in any given area also reflects their level of poverty. Hunger occurs because people do not have enough money to purchase food. I am not saying that by solving poverty we can therefore solve all of these other issues, there is a lot more factors that contribute to these problems, but by helping to solve poverty we can make great strides toward solving these issues.
Currently, there are 6.9% or 351,000 Minnesotans that are living below the poverty line according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is more then the total number of people living in St. Paul. Even worse is that these numbers have risen over the past few years, and it has been proven that the majority of people in such desperate poverty are still employed and still trying to make ends meet. The question now becomes what is the real problem behind poverty? Is it the economy, the types of jobs that are available to those who are stricken with poverty, is it because of the fact that they don’t try to do anything to change their economic means? Who knows exactly, but one thing is for sure people need to take a stand and help those that may not have the means to help themselves.
One of the best ways to help reduce the levels of poverty is to provide options, opportunities and encouragement to those who are suffering from this problem. By showing these people that they can make it and giving them the tools they need to improve their condition people will be able to pick themselves up and live their lives without the dangers and risks poverty produces. There are organizations in the cities that are focusing on helping get people out of their current situations and show them the skills they need in the work place. One of these organizations is called the Cookie Cart. This is a non-profit business that employs workers age 14-17 that provides these youth to have a steady job and generates work experience while giving them a place to go get off the streets. For more information about the Cookie Cart you can go to www.cookiecart.org.
In addition to these organizations that make a tremendous contribution to eliminating poverty, the state legislator is putting a plan in effect that is predicted to eliminate poverty in Minnesota by the year 20202. This plan calls for the complete collaboration of the citizens of this state and our state government. This is a huge task and a huge responsibility, but those behind the initiative truly believe that this is more then just an ideal dream, but a possible truth.
This week I started volunteering. I attended an orientation for a few hours on Monday with the organization. It was very insightful and provided myself with an alternative view of the world. I am excited about continuing to serve with this organization and just hope that I will be able to contribute towards the organizations goals.
Our lives are full of energy. Whether it is from moving from one place to another, or just our mood it is hard to ignore the amount of energy we encounter on a daily basis. However, the energy flow of a building goes mainly undetected by the mass of society. The energy of a city is dynamic and full of excitement. These feelings are present in just about every major city and will remain as long as the city does. People form connections with the energy of city because the fun and excitement draw individuals in and make them a part of that energy flow. However, most people do not even think twice about the feeling of a city, they just pass it off, but we must get underneath the skin or structure of a city to truly understand it. As Andy Goldsworthy says in reference to a sheep, we must get behind the wooliness in order to discover the essence. As citizens within a city it is important not get caught up in the façade or structure of a city, but pay attention to the heart, its energy.