Sep 21, 2014
Casa de Cultura - September 18th, 2014
The first time is always a charm. For my volunteer service, I decided to take a nice break away from children and dip my foot into the world of Adult Education. I wanted a change since I worked all summer at a daycare, had a weekend job at a baby store, and basically spent any remaining hours obsessing over how much I love babies. Needless to say, I still have an intense love for small children. Just maybe not in college this semester.
Anyway, at 5:30 PM I began my first adventure to SCAPP for the beginning classes of Casa de Cultura. There were about 20 female volunteers and of course 3 students, only one of whom was another female. The students (what an odd thing to say since they're all older than me) were more than enthusiastic to have us there. Most of them- well, all but one, had children and were looking to improve their english for a plethora of reasons. The first student I met (whose name has escaped me) was basically an English-learning beast. She had such great, positive energy and broke the activity we were doing into parts rather than getting frustrated at a collection of unfamiliar words and phrases. I sat there in amazement as she carefully and methodically broke down parts of the sentence and self-corrected her own pronunciation as she heard others' pronunciation. As a language lover, I am 100% aware of how boring and tedious the basics can be after a few repetitions. However, Maria (I think giving her a name is a nice touch) inspired me to push through with my language.
After my time with Maria was over, I moved to another section of the room and met another student whose name has also escaped me. His english language skills were less developed, he told us he had kids and he gave me the impression that he was tired. However, his actions showed determination and a driven attitude in the face of adversity. We completed the same activity again but this man asked all 5 of us the same question over and over again. I laughed, not at his efforts but at the careful effort he put into asking each of us the same thing 5 times. We all answered almost same thing (he asked us 'what's up') and then he went back to trying to complete the worksheet independently. He made a special connection to one of the native spanish speakers in my group, who took the liberty of translating the parts of the worksheet he didn't quite grasp. The first thing he said to her was if she spoke spanish and that he could tell she spoke spanish because she looked like him. Instantly, I made a connection to something my Mom said a while back about how minorities tend to prefer minority doctors. As an almost fluent spanish speaker, I listened to their conversation, following everything along. This would be a perfect volunteer activity for me because I could practice spanish and learn firsthand about the hispanic culture (mainly Mexico).
All in all, I loved my first time at Casa de Cultura. I was reserved for the majority of the activity primarily because I was taking everything in. I was not in Gettysburg and it reminded me that there is so much to learn about myself and others alike. Casa de Cultura made me excited to do what I loved best: practicing my language skills and putting them into direct context. A few days later, I even found an article relating to the treatment of the indigenous people in Mexico. An indigenous woman and her husband walked all the way to a 'nearby' (it was a long walk) hospital and were denied care. She had her baby on the lawn. *Insert stream of question marks* I am already excited for this Thursday to come so I can talk to them about treatment of indigenous people in Mexico as well as the Fiesta event (festival that brings together migrant families in the Adams County area through food, song, and dance) that I volunteered at on Sunday.
Posted at 11:54 pm by Andeulazia
Dec 11, 2013
C.A.R.E.S. Resource Center 12/11
My afternoon at C.A.R.E.S. was undoubtedly the best part of my day today. I got to play with Alisha's daughter, who kept latching onto my fingers and dragging me around the house. She is the most adorable thing in the world. I also saw Lucille, who needed help filling out online job applications again. She is such a positive, happy person, and she always brightens my day. I saw her at 7-11 yesterday and she gave me a huge hug.
C.A.R.E.S. is officially at its full capacity of 30, as of today. I was really disappointed to hear that Nick is nowhere to be seen- they've given his spot away and they have no idea where he is. I'm hoping that he's back with his parents and that he's on his meds. He seemed like a really nice kid, and I really hope that things are working out for him.
It seems like people are really starting to settle in at the resource center. I see a lot of the same people there every day, and everyone is very friendly to one another. Roger always makes coffee for everyone to drink, and today someone donated a bunch of mugs and cups, which I ran through the dishwasher and put away. We also brought in some food donations from the bridge club at St. James, and a couple of women from a local book club brought in some brand new children's books to donate. Though they could always use more, C.A.R.E.S. is definitely at the receiving end of a lot of generosity from the Gettysburg community.
It was my last afternoon at C.A.R.E.S. for the semester, but I'm definitely going back in January. I love the people there and I love the atmosphere that always hangs in the air at 117 York Street. I consider myself very fortunate to have had my service placement there. I was drying dishes in the kitchen today, joking around with Alisha's adorable daughter, and everyone was milling around and talking and laughing with each other, and it just felt absolutely wonderful. I was singing for my entire walk home. I'm really going to miss the people there over winter break. I am so glad to have had this experience.
Posted at 07:17 pm by Julie Davin
Last week, I told SCCAP that I was definitely going to come back and teach for the next semester. I honestly didn't know what to expect from teaching for the Literacy Council; my experience ended up being very different from what Bob Daniels told me it would be. But it was an amazing experience. I ended up teaching math most of the time, but it was still fantastic.
I never considered how much effort it takes to complete the GED program. I was that kid in grade school that never quite understood why other kids didn't get it. Now I know from Psychology that there are so many factors that play into learning, and these adults are learning in an incredibly stressful environment, but they are sticking to their guns and pulling through. I am just happy I can be a part of it. Volunteering as a tutor is just so much fun for me. I love learning, and I love helping others learn, so that they can succeed.
I highly recommend volunteering for the Lit Council. Even if you don't end up teaching English, I think you'll find that it is a rewarding experience. At Gettysburg College, we emphasis doing great work and being a part of the community, Here, I get to help others do great work, and I get to make my community more educated. This entire experience has just been so wonderful.
Posted at 05:11 pm by Colin Scotch
Dec 9, 2013
At my last Campus Kitchen experience, our focus was on Thanksgiving and providing those who are less fortunate with, hopefully, a better Thanksgiving. Thus, we filled the Meals on Wheels bags with food for Thanksgiving. We also carved a turkey to bring over to SCAAP. I did not participate in this part, however. Instead, I made banana bread with another girl volunteer. There was only one other volunteer from Gettysburg at Campus Kitchen today, but we had three juvenile delinquents arrive to fulfill their community service. Neither the girl nor I had ever made banana bread before, and our batter turned out to be much more dry than we expected, so we didn’t think we could do anything with it. To fix the problem, we added some water to the mix. In Campus Kitchen, most people do not know how to cook, so we do whatever we think will work and hope for the best. Luckily, every time I have been there nothing has gone wrong. Being in this environment always reminds me that it is not about becoming a pro chef and making gourmet meals, but rather it is the fact that I am providing someone in need with nutritious, homemade food that they would not normally be able to access, no matter how un-extravagant it may be.
Posted at 01:05 am by caroline
Dec 7, 2013
C.A.R.E.S. Resource Center 12/6
Yesterday, I spent another afternoon helping out at the C.A.R.E.S. Resource Center. First, I helped to design some letterhead for them- very often, I am assigned tasks that require computer skills. Mary really liked my design, and I think they'll be using it from now on. Similarly, I spent a while trying to work out some glitches in the C.A.R.E.S. Facebook page. It is now public, and a lot of our posts are getting Likes!
I spent the remainder of my time there helping a lovely woman named Linda* fill out job applications. We were laughing the whole time- she has a great sense of humor. She's looking for a job with WellSpan Health as a housekeeper, food service worker, or laundry worker, but she didn't have a resume, so we made her one. It turns out she owned and operated a daycare center from 1989 until early this year. She also has a high school diploma and a college certificate in data entry. Together, we submitted applications for four or five different jobs in the Adams County area. We also had a little help from one guest's two-year-old daughter, who hit the power button on the computer when we were making Linda's resume- luckily, the computer auto-saved it. Otherwise, Linda and I got a kick out of her- she's such an adorable, happy little kid.
I saw a couple of familiar faces and a couple unfamiliar faces, but virtually everyone who comes through the resource center is extremely pleasant. Chuck was playing Christmas carols and we were inside a warm building on a cold day, eating homemade bread and drinking hot coffee. It was an absolutely lovely afternoon, and I can't wait to go back on Wednesday.
*Name changed for confidentiality
Posted at 04:40 pm by Julie Davin
Dec 6, 2013
Today I went to the Soup Kitchen and it was quite rainy. Jan was not there but Biff was, as well as Gordon and Dot. I went to the Soup Kitchen in my galoshes and all the other volunteers loved them once again. We were serving meatloaf and mashed potatoes and corn. It was a very hearty looking meal for being a random Friday afternoon. I was glad that people got such big portions too because it was quite cold out. Through the weeks at the Soup Kitchen, there have been more and more people coming to the Kitchen. This particular Friday we served over 50 people. On one hand this is great that we can provide a hot meal for all these people, but it is disconcerting a bit because the amount of people coming in has increased over a few months.
In the middle of the time, we ran out of mashed potatoes so we switched to pasta, and everyone really liked it. Plus, I went and served desserts and the apple pie is a huge hit every single time. But, there was a cupcake with frosting and a little turkey cut out and no one would eat it, not even the children. It was cute though because as I was doing the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher Dot comes over to me and says, ‘someone finally took the cupcake!’ which was relieving because it was an adorable turkey cutout.
Through my time at the soup kitchen, I have made a relationship with Dot and Jan as well as the people in the Soup Kitchen. There is a warm atmosphere when I walk in and I am definitely going to keep doing it next semester. Even the guests of the Soup Kitchen know me and they like seeing me on Fridays, it is a great thing to be a part of.
Posted at 08:42 pm by Hannah Dallman
Dec 5, 2013
Big Brothers Big Sisters- Overall Experience
Because BBBS only met seven times this semester, I decided to explain what I’ve learned from my overall experience for my final blog. Working with Hannah has changed my understanding of poverty and its effects on children in so many ways; I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to know her. When I first met her, she seemed like another happy, carefree, adorable first-grader; learning about her life at home and her family’s circumstances made me realize just how amazing she is for being such a happy person. The things I took for granted that I had as a child--such as supportive and attentive parents, a family car, and all of my possessions—are not available to Hannah. However, she is still just as content with her life as I was when I was her age. It is because of her optimism that I believe she will overcome the disadvantages of her situation and move forward to succeed in her life.
Big Brothers Big Sisters has also showed me the importance of role models in a child’s life. The people Hannah looks up to now will truly impact her future because she will learn her values and habits from them. As her Big, I have had the responsibility of being the best role model I can be for Hannah, and I know that the encouragement and support I give her now can motivate her to be the best she can be, both now and in the future. This responsibility has also affected me personally—even when I am not with Hannah in BBBS, I think more about my actions and decisions because I want to be someone she can truly look up to. Instead of putting on a façade for her when I’m at BBBS, I want to be a real role model, because she will grow up to be a real person who will hopefully apply the values I have taught to every aspect of her life.
I’ve learned so much from Big Brothers Big Sisters and I plan to continue working with the organization in the future. Their mission of helping children is extremely important, and it’s wonderful to know that I have made a positive impact on a child’s life in some way.
Posted at 05:07 pm by Haley Post
Big Brothers Big Sisters- Day Seven
Today was our Christmas party at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Hannah was so excited, and we had a lot of fun! When I picked her up from her class, she was "baking" play dough pretzels with her friend and she was very involved in doing her craft. She showed me the bracelet that her friend gave her for Christmas as soon as I saw her- it was so nice to see that she had formed a friendship with someone who is kind to her. Hannah is often shy in BBBS; she usually avoids talking to other children, and whenever I ask her if she wants to share a table with another match, she doesn't want to. I know that children are often shy at her age, but I wonder if she has difficulty making friends because of her parent's lack of encouragement. I relied on my parents to set up play dates for me and drive me to my friends' houses when I was little- in order to allow children to socialize outside of school, their parents must play an active role in making their social lives possible. Hannah's family doesn't have a car, so it is impossible for her parents to drive her to her friends house. Also, based on what she has told me, her parents seem unlikely to call her friends' parents to set up playdates because they seem busy and somewhat uninvolved in her life. I hope that she will be able to form friendships in school that inspire her to be successful academically and to be kind to others. Hopefully, she can look to role models she finds in school, such as her teachers and friend, instead of relying only on the role models she has at home. The Christmas party was very fun- we made a few crafts and ate snacks, and BBBS provided Hannah with a Christmas gift. She was so excited when she opened it- it was a jewelry making kit, and she loves crafts. She seems very excited for break, and I'm happy that she has something to look forward to. She walked home today with her parents, but she was very happy when she went because she had so much fun at the Christmas party.
Posted at 04:52 pm by Haley Post
This was my last week of SCCAP and I was very sad that one of my favorite kids, G, was not there, although I hoped it was because he and his family had found housing. There were several new children there and their mother came in and read to the youngest son. Very few of the parents interact with us or seem as hands on and involved in everything their children were doing as this mother, which I thought would be extremely beneficial to her children. Her oldest boy was really well behaved and polite and I thought this was a reflection of that involved parenting. Another one of the girls told us that the reason they lived in the shelter was because their house burned down and killed their two dogs, one of whom was pregnant. I thought this story was extremely sad, and worse that she was telling it in such a matter of fact way. If there’s one thing I have learned from working with the children at SCCAP is that children experiencing homelessness have to grow up much faster and often have to forget about their own need and wants. I feel it is our job to help them feel like kids again and fulfill even a few of their wishes.
Posted at 10:41 am by Lizzy Cooper
This week in SCCAP was the first day when I went after D left. It was much different without him there, and it did make me a little sad that I probably won't get the opportunity to see him again but I know it is for the best for him to move out of the homeless shelter and into a home.
There was a new family this week, it was a family of all little boys, there were four of them. They were all very playful fun children and I enjoyed talking to them. I also talked to Delilah alot and was showing her the song "Hey there Delilah" I am amazed at how positive, upbeat, and loving this little girl is. She never complains or has a bad attitude and greets everyone with a hug. We also hung out with the oldest girl in the shelter, Alexa who is 12 years old. She tends to be very disrespectful towards everyone in general. But I began to talk to her and she told me that she had just moved to Pennsylvania a month ago from Georgia. I think this move affected her a ot because she said she would never have a best friend here, I think she resents that her family moved.
Posted at 02:48 am by Kelly Ashnault