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Sep 18, 2017
Soup Kitchen September 12th, 2017

Braving the 15 minute walk off campus to the Gettysburg soup kitchen, I found myself lost on High Street. I must've looked like a confused freshman, or an out of place tourist, as I was approached by a man who asked what I was looking for. When I told him my destination he led me to the back of a building my eyes had skimmed over. What was waiting for me in the kitchen was the warm smells of pot-pie, and a woman named Jan and a man named Pete who playfully punched my arm upon introduction. I was handed a clean apron almost immediately and put to work. When the "clients," as Jan called them, started pouring in, there was a sense of camaraderie among them as they sat in designated seats and formed coalitions with people whose stories I have yet to learn. I served them a hearty meal and chattered filled the room. This busy 40 minutes was the highlight of my experience. As they ate and talked I was occasionally called to a table where I was addressed politely as ma'am, and received genuine thank you's for my small act of carrying cookies or bringing them seconds. As I cleaned afterwards, I had an opportunity to learn a bit about my fellow opportunities, and I was not disappointed. They, like the people who I served, each had a story and good reason why they served at the soup kitchen. Dishes put away and tables clean, I placed my apron in the washing machine and left the soup kitchen feeling a little bit less lost than when I arrived.

Posted at 06:25 pm by GBFY198SLJournal
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Pre-seminar views on Homelessness


Posted at 06:24 pm by GBFY198SLJournal
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September 14, 2017

Yesterday was the second Wednesday of El Centro. I gave myself a day to reflect on the experience as I tend to draw more meaning out of experiences after reflection. I arrived to El Centro a few minutes late, and unfortunately was not able to work with Simbry again. Instead, I was instructed to walk downstairs to other classrooms seeing if I was needed. After asking the PLA in the kindergarten room if a tutor was needed, I was assigned to tutor Ingrid. Ingrid was a little spitfire who had decided her white tank top would become her green highlighter's canvas, and continuously threatened to color me as well. After a few more additions to her top, Ingrid settled down and we began reading. At the kindergarten level, the tutors were tasked with reading to the kids. Ingrid and I read all about the different sizes of animals in one book and about a boy with his stuffed bear getting ready for bed in another. At first, she was very wary of me, keeping herself at more than an arm's length away and begrudgingly answered my questions. This distance continued as we played the card game "War" with a deck of cards numbered 1-10. We were using the game to practice numbers and which were greater or less than. Ingrid soon figured out that 10 was the greatest and proceeded to place the same 10 of clubs on the top of her deck. I seemed to lose lots of cards to that 10. After she realized I had caught on to her scheme, the physical distance between the two of us lessened, and she even climbed into my lap as we played a Gettysburg student and his student Luis in the game. 

Posted at 05:25 pm by Grace Bowen
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September 6, 2017

Today was the first Wednesday meeting of El Centro. I was not exactly sure what to expect, but knew that I would be tutoring in some way. After signing in with the PLAs, I was instructed to wait in the third-grade classroom for the kids to come off the bus. In they ran and all of a sudden, our classroom full of sleep-deprived college students was full of life. After backpacks were thrown to the ground and materials were retrieved, Simbry and I settled in to start our picture book. I was surprised when she began reading the book as it seemed too juvenile for a third grader, but I went along with it. She began to struggle midway through the book, so I sounded out the words for her. Honestly, I was shocked how difficult it was for her. It was a picture book. A book that I naively thought was just for kindergarten or first graders. Then we tried Caperucita Roja, Little Red Riding Hood in Spanish. It did not matter whether the books were in English or Spanish, they were both struggles. I had naively assumed that because she was bilingual she would be able to read in both languages. Realizing that this was not the case, I was shocked to find that I was able to read Spanish more readily. I found that this experience was different from other reading service placements. El Centro demands that we utilize English and Spanish interchangeably to teach the students. This dual language component brings an exciting element into a service commitment that I have not experienced yet.  

Posted at 05:08 pm by Grace Bowen
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Sherfy Farm 9-7-17

Today was my first day at the Sherfy Farm, during my time here I harvested jalapeños, weeded around the edge of the garden, and harvested tomato’s. At first I felt as though we were just doing busy work but as Emma, our student coordinator, started to tell us more about the work we were doing and how much we were helping it made me feel like I was actually making a difference in our community. The vegetables we harvested are sent to campus kitchen and S.C.C.A.P, Emma was telling us that sometimes the far gives them too much food and they can’t take it all. I think this is amazing because it means they won’t run out of food as fast. We started by picking Jalapeños, this was the easiest thing we did because there were a lot of them and you didn’t have to look to hard for them. After that, we weeded the edge of the garden, although this was challenging and kind of a pain to do Emma told us that it is the most helpful because it does not get done that often but it has to get done in order for the plants to grow properly and efficiently. Once we did a solid amount of work on that we harvested some tomato’s. This was hard because most of them have been picked already so we had to look pretty hard to find ones that were edible. Emma told us that each year they try to have a really nice tomato patch but each year it is harder and harder to keep up with so in the end there are a lot of tomato’s on the ground.

Posted at 11:07 am by mclamo03
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Sep 17, 2017
Casa Swimming Sunday September 17, 2017 Day 2

Sunday September 17, 2017 Today was my second day of volunteering for Casa Swimming. There was a fair of some sort going on, so there was about half the number of children that showed up for lessons as last week. However, the little boy that is three from last week as well as his older brother were still there. His older brother, who the little boy clearly looked up to, decided to stay in the beginner group this time even though last week he was placed into the advanced group of swimmers; he wanted to be with his little brother. The little one was watching his big brother basically do laps around the pool, so this week he actually asked me to pick him up and bring him into the deep section, which is actually four feet deep. He learned how to kick and lay on his back in the water with my assistance. He was having an amazing time and was up for the challenge. At the end of the session, he was so thrilled with himself and could see how proud I was as well as his brother and mother, who was watching, on the sidelines. He may have been the youngest and smallest one there, but he did not let that affect him at all.

Posted at 10:05 pm by gabiscolpino
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Sep 15, 2017
The Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen Week 1-Hannah Wevodau

The first day of volunteering at the Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen was a terrific experience. As soon as Molly and I arrived we were greeted by the other incredibly sweet volunteers who were glad to learn we would be returning every Friday. We were put to work almost immediately after one of the regular volunteers, Jackie, made sure we were outfitted with aprons and name tags to help us learn everyone's names quickly. Following a brief tour and tutorial of the kitchen, the donated food pantry, and serving system, we jumped right in as visitors began to take seats. Jackie ran the show, saying a short grace then directing the rest of the volunteers to begin serving bowls of warm chili and homemade desserts. Working alongside seasoned volunteers made the learning process much easier and soon we blended into the kitchen’s flow. Watching the kitchen work may seem a bit chaotic with volunteers hurrying around doing every possible job at once, but most tasks are shared equally among everyone with volunteers jumping from task to task as they are needed. With a need to welcome new visitors and get their first serving, offer veggie side dishes, keep stations and dishes clean, and bring around the basket of extra food and toiletries, there is always something to do at every moment. The other volunteers were eager to know how college life was treating us and we came to learn plenty of background about them as well. I look forward to getting to know Jackie, Barb, Eddie, Karen (previously a drama professor at Gettysburg), and both Bobs even better as the semester goes on. I also enjoyed my time with the visitors, getting the impression that there was community among them. Many brought their families to lunch and regulars made a point of sitting together to catch up with each other. There was also a sense of community between the veteran volunteers and the regular visitors. Karen and Jackie knew several visitors by name and conversed and joked with them as familiar neighbors. This extra step of support was moving to watch, especially when one little girl who knew Bob came to the kitchen to say goodbye personally. Those experiencing homelessness and poverty are often ignored and treated with disrespect by those more fortunate, making places such as this kitchen all the more crucial. People deserve to be treated like people. Jackie said, “Our main goal is to get them good food, stay clean, and be kind.” This organization has clear intentions of true charity in comparison to some of the older “charities” mentioned in Down and Out on the Road, such as the AICP who set out to only give aid to the “worthy poor” (27). At The Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen all are equal and welcome. I cannot wait until next Friday.

Posted at 02:17 pm by Hannah Wevodau
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Sep 14, 2017
Senior Center/El Centro 1

I haven’t started volunteering for my service organization for this class yet, I’m starting hopefully next week. But, I have volunteered for El Centro for my Spanish class. This started last week and it is every Thursday afternoon for an hour and a half. Each volunteer is assigned to one student, mine is a girl in kindergarten named Ingrid. Her cousin is also in the class but I forget his name. This past time we had three different books to read with them, two worksheets to do, and then sang a song that was in both Spanish and English and danced with them to it. Before the students arrived and I was talking to the teacher, she told me that Ingrid was a smart student. So, when we were reading the books together, it surprised me that she could not, or possibly just would not, read the pages before me. She spoke both English and Spanish (Spanish was her first language I believe), and the book had each sentence written in both English and Spanish. I asked her on every page if she could read it to me first, but she always said she couldn’t. This was surprising to me because at the end of my last school year I volunteered at a pre-school for three weeks and those kids were already starting to be able to read, and they had another year of preschool left. It made me wonder if she actually did not know how to read it or if she just didn’t want to. Another thing that surprised me was that she preferred to speak with me in English over Spanish. I asked her in the beginning which language she spoke better and she said Spanish. Coming into this I was expecting the students to barely be able to speak English, but the ones in my classroom were all very good at speaking it. I would try to talk to her in Spanish sometimes but she would always change it back to English. This could have been something she was taught to do, or it could have been herself wanting to get better at English.

Posted at 11:07 pm by Alexa Kerprich
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Sherfy Farm/Habitat for Humanity, Post #2

Thursday, September 14, 2017 This week, we were unable to volunteer at Sherfy Farm because a Parks Service volunteer group came the morning of and there was not enough work that needed to be done to warrant us going. Although this week has been extremely packed with lab reports, CYC events, exams and quizzes, I was looking forward to spending some time outside doing something other than holing up in the library. This week was also the first Habitat for Humanity meeting which is the on-campus service organization that I have decided to be a part of. I applied to be a part of the Habitat for Humanity spring break build at my high school, but I was not selected at a participant, so I am very excited to get a chance to do this. We met briefly on Tuesday night to talk about what to expect for the club in the future. Wynter, the President of Gettysburg’s chapter, explained that as of now, there will not be a build this year because the dates got confused at a meeting for Adams County. However, she also explained that there are plenty of other service opportunities available for us to participate in, like the Apple Harvest Festival and the Painted Turtle Farm, where we will have opportunities to work at and attend. Along with my off-campus volunteer component at Sherfy, I think working at the Painted Turtle Farm and getting involved with Campus Kitchen will mesh well because of the shared connection to sustainability and food availability. The club seems like a great way to get involved and I’m excited about how local it will be. Wynter mentioned that instead of physically building the homes, most times we will be meeting and talking to the families who will live in the house, which I think is going to be very educational, especially in the context of the class.

Posted at 09:50 pm by freyan01
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Campus Kitchen Day 1

Yesterday was my first day volunteering at Campus Kitchen. I left my dorm about 30 minutes earlier than I had to be there, knowing I would get lost, which I did. It was difficult to find the door, but after wandering into the homeless shelter by accident and terrifying the lady at the desk who thought I had broken in, I was able to locate the kitchen with her guidance. I worked with four other volunteers, preparing a meal for the families there. We just had to warm up some fish and vegetables, and make a dessert--peach crisp. I'm not really sure how, but I definitely messed up the topping for the peach crisp. I noticed that I was a lot more concerned about how well I made the dish than I would be if I were just baking at home. It was scary to know that if I made a mistake, I was responsible for many unhappy families that night. I was preparing food for a lot of people, who were relying on me to provide for them in a small way, and I was determined that it would be good food. However, the night really went wrong when the others volunteers and I realized that the oven had been turned off while heating up the fish, and panic ensued. We had ten minutes before dinner was expected to be served, and the fish was not at a safe temperature. We had to put it in a pan and quickly fry it, and it wasn't ready until twenty minutes after six, the expected time. It felt to me like I was letting everyone down by not having this meal prepared in time, but the program coordinator with us dismissed it. She said they were very understanding here, and as long as the food is good, no one will complain. I thought about my own grumblings whenever my friends don't want to go to the dining center early enough for my liking, and I felt a bit ashamed of my impatience. The lesson of that first night was to relax a little bit about the apple crisp, and focus more on doing what you can in the scenario, like frying fish instead of baking it. When you're literally out of the fire and into the frying pan (haha), you just have to deal with it, and people will understand. They're grateful for what they do have.

Posted at 08:32 pm by katedelaney__
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