May 2, 2007

Class Presentations

After listening to everyone talk about their volunteering experiences, I feel like I made the right decision volunteering at Simpson Housing. Granted I did originally want to volunteer at Childrens, I think that getting rejected from there happened for a reason. I've learned a lot from volunteering at the homeless shelter. I've never ever looked at homeless people as just bums and lazy people, but i've never really understood why they are homeless until I started volunteering at Simpson housing. A lot of the guys got into drugs and it took over their lives, but others just had really bad luck and lost their jobs and struggled finding a new one. Others, like some of the mexicans came from Mexico and wanted to find jobs here to send money back to their families, but couldn't get jobs. People don't chose to be homeless and I hate how so many people judge them and criticize them because they have no idea what they have gone through. And from my experience the people who are judging them are the people who have never had to worry about their financial situation or have ever had a job themselves, so how can they just say why dont homeless people just get a job when they themselves havn't even had one. I'm kind of venting right now, but the other day I got into an arguement with one of my friends(I really don't know why i'm friends with this person actually) about homeless people and why I volunteer at a homeless shelter and he laughed at me because he thinks that homeless people are just bums. He really hurt my feelings because I had just gotten back from volunteering and I was in a great mood and his ignorance made me really upset. I feel that it's really important to volunteer and experience things that you've never done before so that you can learn about things first hand and try to understand what it's like for people who are less fortunate than you to live. Because it's never easy.

April 25, 2007

Shadow Shift

The first time that I had to stay overnight at Simpson Housing I shadowed two other volunteers. On a normal night there is only two volunteers total. I got there at 5:45 and waited around til 6 when the staff opened the doors for overnight guests and other homeless people who were just coming in for dinner. Once everyone was in and settleed, dinner was served around 7:30ish. (Different church groups or other organizations come in every night to make dinner for the men.) After dinner, me and one other volunteer went into the supply closet to get various toiletries that the men needed. The men were only allowed to visit the supply closet once a week, so they stocked up on socks, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. After that, I sat down and talked to some of the men. One guy told me how he became homeless and it was a very intense, humbling story. Other guys just talked about sports or what was going on in the news. At the homeless shelter, there is a washer and dryer for anyone to do their laundry, and showers. I had to stay up until midnight then wake up at 4 so that I could see what happens during both shifts. The first shift is from 10-2 and you dont really do much during that shift exept get anything that someone needs. Then the second shift from 2-6 you have to get the breakfast cart ready for breakfast. I caught myself giggling when throughout the night I would hear a symphony of snoring and farting all night long! It was so hard for me to get up with only four hours of sleep, but coffee was made when I got up so I drank like 3 cups. After the men ate breakfast, they had to leave the shelter by 7:00. Because some of the men have jobs, we had to wake some of them up at earlier times. I left the shelter at about 7:20am and got on the bus back to campus to go to all of my classes. I had this amazing feeling inside me when I left and I wanted to share with everyone what I had just experienced.

April 4, 2007

First time seeing the shelter

The orientation was purely informational and fairly short. The woman in charge was really organized and extremely helpful. After the meeting as a group we all went to the shelter to take a tour of the place. The shelter is permanently located in the basement of a church. When you first walk in you see the huge kitchen and a ton of tables where everyone eats at. Then to the left are about 6 or so computers with the internet for them to use. Next is a huge room with a ton of couches and chairs and a plasma screen tv that was all donated to them. Beyond that was the volunteer office and the room where the volunteers sleep. Also, the is a supplies closet, where the men come and stock up for the week on different toiletry items and clothing. Then, as you take a right there is a little library with three shelves of books and every bus schedule pamplet. After that room, you enter the gym where all the matresses are located. I think there are about 48 beds spaced out on the floor. To the left of the gym is the smoking room where the guys are allowed to smoke at certain hours and there is a tv in there too. Down the hallway from there are the showers, bathrooms, and laudry facilities. It was amazing that people donated all of these things and that the church is so nice to allow this to be a permanent thing.

Orientation

It was finally the day I had to go for the Simpson Housing orientation. I went online to figure out what bus I needed to take to get there. Having done that I figured I would be ok and not have to worry about the bus situation. Well I was wrong, when I got to where I thought the bus was coming to I waited forever and none of the number bus that I needed came. So panicingly (if that is even a word) I jumped in another bus to ask someone for help. I finally figured out where my bus was and got on it. Worried now that I was going to be late I bit off all of my fingernails the entire 20 some blocks that I rode the bus for. Not sure exactly where the place was I got off the bus on the street it was on and wandered a few blocks and thankfully saw the house. The place where I had the orientation was a different place from where I would actually be volunteering at. Apparently this building was donated to the organization for all the people to have offices and things like that. The house was a huge, beautiful mansion. I got to the meeting late and walked awkwardly in on 10 people at a huge conference table already discussing what they would be doing volunteering at Simpson Housing.

What to do now!!

So I've been denied at Children's Hospital and now I have to find a new place to volunteer at. One of my issues is that I've spent so much time with the whole Children's process that I'm afraid of not being able to get enough service hours that are required for the course. So I went through the list of places and I decided I would choose Simpson Housing. It's a stay over night volunteer position and it's for 13 hours straight. I was kinda iffy about not sleeping but I figured I don't really get any sleep anyways so it shouldn't be too bad!! So I went to the website and filled out an application and sent it in. The woman in charge of the volunteers emailed me back within the next day and told me there was an orientation meeting within the next week. I was really excited that she was letting me volunteer there. So a big stress was lifted from my shoulders. But a funny thing happened the next day when my friend told me that she got a call from some lady calling about a homeless shelter. When she told me this I thought my friend wasn't paying her rent or something and couldn't afford to live in her apartment anymore and she contacted a homeless shelter or something, but what I didn't realize was that on my appliction I had to put down 4 references and she was one of them. And the lady calling was calling to ask her about what kind of a person I am. My friend told me I was lucky that she loves me because she was put on the spot having to answer a million questions about me!! I love her for saying nice things.

April 3, 2007

Trying to volunteer at Children's

So I applied to Children's Hospital because I really love working with children and I thought that I would be really great at making a child feel better while I was visiting them and help them to forget about what they are going through in their lives. So I went to the orientation which was like two and a half hours long (they did provide yummy snacks and beverages which was great!). Anyways I didn't really think about all the different legal paperwork and rules to volunteering at a hospital. I really did learn a lot from the meeting and was looking forward to volunteering with children. So I had all three things in that needed to be in in order to start volunteering, I was just waiting for a call to schedule an interview appointment. Well I received a call, but I didn't get an appointment because the only time they had available for me to volunteer at was in the mornings and I have morning classes. So I was denied at Children's and was extremely bummed.

February 18, 2007

I still haven't started volunteering

So I still haven't started volunteering at Children's Hospital yet. I've sent the application in though. Well we just watched the movie Our Song in class and I wrote my paper on it. I compared the movie to Pleasantville. I chose this movie because I felt it completely contrasted Our Song in almost every aspect. I didn't really like Our Song because to me it felt like a reality show and not a movie with a plot. The issues in the movie really made me think about how lucky I am to not have to live like that. I could never imagine myself having to worry about being pregnant at my age or how the girls' parents just let them do whatever they wanted. The movie really puts things into perspective and makes me think about how I may have been judging people without knowing the whole story. I feel bad for people who have to live that way and have no choice because they were raised that way and don't really know any better.

February 8, 2007

Process of chossing where I want to volunteer at!

After listening to the different people talk about their organizations and why we should volunteer there, I had a few places in mind of where I wanted to volunteer. My number one choice is Children's Hospital because I absolutely adore children and I want to make a kid who is always in and out of the hospital and in pain all the time, feel better for the few hours that i'm there! Even though I hate seeing children sad or in pain, I really feel that I can put a smile on their faces. I'm basically a big kid myself and I love to laugh and play around, so volunteering here would be perfect for me! I didn't really want to volunteer at the homeless shelter for men or the nursing home, because I have done something similar in the past and I want to try something new. My major is undecided right now, but I do have an interest in becoming a Pediatrician and by volunteering at Children's it could help me in deciding if that is the right path for me.

January 18, 2007

Community Learning

All throughout high school I was really active in my community. I was involved in my Student Government committee called "community relations" where we did various acts of community service. Also, for the past 4 summers I participated in Workcamp through my church. We repaired houses for people who could not afford to do it themselves. I've participated in "Adopt a Grandparent", where I volunteered at a nursing home and visited with elderly people who didn't have family. It was so funny hanging out with this one "grandparent" that I had, because he always wanted me to kidnap him from the nursing home so that he wouldn't have to go back! I think that the reason I love to volunteer in my community and help people is because ever since I was really young my mother was always doing things for other people and brought me with her whenever she volunteered somewhere. I'm really grateful for her bringing me up that way because I think that is it extremely important to do whatever you can to help those who are less fortunate than you. Plus, the feeling you get after helping someone is such a great reward.