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Oct 19, 2014
Casa de Cultura - October 16th, 2014

I'm beginning to make a pattern out of my nighttime walk to the SCAPP building with my friends. Although I prefer to ride my bike to make the trip a lot faster, I was in no mood to complain. As I walked up to the building I saw the familiar face of the woman from last time. I also found out her name Katarina? Katrina? I'm not sure. So- maybe I didn't figure out her name but nevertheless her joy and enthusiasm for learning made so happy. Today's lesson was geography and travel, as always my friend Katrina was more than ready to take on the challenge of learning and pronouncing the unfamiliar words of the worksheets. We reviewed more simple words like 'boat' and 'car' and progressively moved on to harder words like 'airplane' and one that made everyone giggle- 'lorry' While I was expecting Katrina to simply brush the word off in hopes that she would never see it again in her life, she instead asked us what it meant. We then had a mini discussion with everyone in the session about what a lorry was, apparently a word not used in America that is similar to a truck. As a student myself, I understand the importance of not simply acting like everything is clear, that it's really good to ask questions because it might help others as well. Katrina continues to impress me and inspire me to become a better student by putting more time into my school work.

Posted at 07:32 pm by Andeulazia
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Oct 17, 2014
Casa de la Cultura (10-16-14)

Community service at SCCAP was really calm yesterday. It seemed as if everything there began to become friendlier. Everyone in groups ended up drifting off into more personal conversation. I also noticed that there was more interaction between the people in different groups. At first, when we began the start of our 2 hours, everyone was quiet and the students were focused on their work. After a while, the host of the program, Lizzie, started walking around to talk to people. She stopped at our table to talk because she overheard me talking to one of the volunteers about my classes. We spoke a lot about our trip to DC. Lizzie mentioned how she took our first year seminar last year and she loved it. She was also pleased with the newspaper article. She thought that it was a great story. Of course when the volunteers and the student in my group heard us talking about the trip, they wanted to hear more. We spoke lightly about homelessness in America and what it meant to us. Moments like this make me happy about my decision of taking this first year seminar. I’m able to give my opinion on homelessness in America in hopes of simply clarifying questions for people who aren’t exposed to it. We also talked about Karina’s past and her family. She mentioned how she likes Gettysburg, Pennsylvania because its peaceful but she sees herself moving to a city in the future. I was able to build a relationship with one of the volunteers in my group. She’s a bio major and is willing to help me with my biology problems. It was a day of catching up and building networks. - Nene Sy

Posted at 11:12 pm by Nene Sy
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Oct 8, 2014
Campus Kitchen

I told my roommate that I was volunteering at Campus Kitchen for class, and she decided to try it out for herself to knock out a few hours for APO. After my last trip to the kitchen, I explained how nice Beau was and that she was there every Wednesday, so we both ended up coincidentally signing up for the same date. Our time at the kitchen was limited this week. Beau hadn’t planned much for us to do that day because it was the week before Reading Days and she was swamped with work. After packing the grocery bags again for the same families as last time, we made a big bowl of yogurt and fruit to make parfaits, cleaned out the fridge, and were finished for the day. Beau said there was more to be done, but definitely not enough for 3 people to do, so Jordan and I left after just an hour instead of after the usual 2.

Posted at 07:50 pm by Claire
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Week 3

Today when Nolan and I entered the senior center there was a new face. A man named Brandon who looked 20 something years old. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, initially I assumed he was there doing maintenance or something to the home. After he stayed yo chat for a while I soon realized that he lived there. I was a little confused because I assumed that you have to be old to live in the senior center or to use their resources but I did not ask questions to avoid awkwardness. After Brandon left I moved to a table with a few ladies who I recognized, Phil, Myrtle and Catherine. We had nice conversations about our families, school and they made some interesting comments about the senior center. Phil said that she thinks the senior center will close or at the very least scale back on their activities. Phil said that when she first started coming, all the tables would be full with at least 30 people in the room. Now only a handful show up to lunch. It would really be a shame if the senior center closed. Although the food they provide is not the most appetizing, this hour is nice social time for the elderly.

Posted at 01:04 pm by emilypatro
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Oct 6, 2014
Casa de Cultura - October 2nd, 2014

Walking briskly through the changing fall air, I walked along with Nene to SCAPP for my second Casa de Cultura volunteer session. This time, I was less enthusiastic, a little tired, and extremely overwhelmed with the amount of work I had left myself due to procrastination. I trudged along and slowly made my way up the stairs, blatantly unaware of how interesting a night I would have. I sat down and casually greeted my friends I knew, and noticed a girl who seemed to be about my age sitting just a few chairs down. Without giving much thought to who she was, I moved my chair to better accommodate myself to help other students. At first, I only counted three students. 'Wow, what a turnout.' I muttered sarcastically under my breath. I loved Casa last week but I wanted to make more personal connections with the students. As it turned out, the girl who I didn't recognize was a student. Again, I forgot her name (I should probably work on that) but I remember her story and the warm, fuzzy, happy vibe she gave off to all of us. She was a student attending classes at HACC and looking to improve her English. Her control of the language was great and the conversation quickly turned into conversations about our lives. Eventually, we began talking about a tragedy she had experienced just a few months back. She had lost a significant other about 3 months ago in a tragic accident. We listened intently, faces stuck in a sympathetic gaze. Her ability to keep pushing herself forward was impressive and it reminded me that everybody is really going through their own personal struggles. At that moment Casa became more than a two-hour commitment every Thursday. It was a place where I could step out of the Gettysburg student body bubble and learn about the lives of others through two languages: Spanish and English. Each time, I meet new people overcoming their own versions of adversity. I am learning to love Casa de Cultura, especially the students I teach!

Posted at 09:59 pm by Andeulazia
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Week 2

Nolan and I went back to the senior center. This week we found a short-cut going down an alley leading right to the senior center. This cut out about 5 minutes of our commute each way. After we arrived I sat down at a small table with a woman named Donna and Nolan sat at another table. Donna had a lot to say. All it took was a few questions to get her going. She told me all about her family and how her daughter played field hockey like I do. She also spoke for at least 20 minutes about her weekend where she and her family traveled to Philadelphia to surprise her cousin on her 90th birthday. I sat with Donna for the full hour until she was done her lunch. Shortly after she left, so did Nolan and I.

Posted at 08:40 pm by emilypatro
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Casa de cultura October 2nd, 2014

I think I did a pretty good job for my first day! I remember walking into SCCAP, with Andeulazia, complaining about how nervous I was. She kept reassuring me that everything would be fine and that we would have a great time. After being there for about ten minutes, our student finally came. In the beginning, there was an awkward silence. Karina didn’t talk much; she was really focused on doing her work. After about 45 minutes of helping Karina out and asking her questions about her life, she began to break out of her shell. Our conversation went from speaking about seasons of the year to speaking about her life on a personal level. It felt so good to be able to sit there and just listen to everything she had to say. It was almost as if she had a huge weight lifted off of her chest. She needed a shoulder to cry on and I am happy that I was one of the people she decided to confide in. The one thing I noticed is that being in a group of all females played a huge role on our student’s comfort level. We were able to connect with her on a personal, emotional, and mental level. I swear when she began to talk, it felt like there were no differences between us. We all came from different places and different backgrounds but once we broke the ice, it felt like we’ve all known each other for years, or at least more than an hour. When she walked in, I only recognized her as a Hispanic girl in college but by the time I left SCAPP, I saw her as way more than that. I saw her as a girl that had a lot in common with me, a girl that was battling the same things as me, and a girl that was just trying to get through life in one piece. Only on day one have I had such an eye-opening experience. I learned that if you really take the time to get to know someone, you’d see him or her as more than just a “quiet, Hispanic girl”. Seeing her comfort level change was something that I will definitely look forward to seeing more as I continue my service here. Nene Sy

Posted at 05:43 pm by Nene Sy
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Office of Aging 9/30

Today was the second day of my service at the Office of Aging. I was not as nervous this time, besides the fact that I had forgotten most of the elderly people’s names. When I arrived, I started walking over towards the ladies I sat with last time, however, I noticed a lady by herself and decided to sit with her. This lady, I think her name is Phil, is a very nice lady who has been through a lot. I learned a lot about her life, and even though she has had it rough, she is still smiling. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but from what she told me was that her daughter had passed away at the age of 16 from an accident, her son has 4th stage cancer, and she herself has had cancer in the past. Nonetheless, she remains strong and hopeful, and keeps her faith. Besides talking about the troubles she has been through, we talked a lot about what she did as a child. She told me that she lived on a ranch and that she had many horses. Phil said that she loved to ride, and she especially loved riding the horses her father specifically said not to ride. Once again, as she was telling me a story, lunch was served and the story stopped haha. When she got the meal, she took one look at it and looked at me with a grossed out face. She told me that she would give the chicken to her dog to eat; however, she did eat the salad. I learned that she was a picky eater because she was once a professional chef, and the food at the senior center was not always up to her standards. She mentioned to me that she made good cheesecakes, and that she would make a pumpkin cheesecake for me soon; which I am looking forward too! After talking a little more, it was time to go and I said my goodbyes. I had a lot of fun and I can tell that the elderly are all getting more comfortable to having Emily and me around.

Posted at 02:55 pm by Nolan Skirtich
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Soup Kitchen 9/30

I went to the Gettysburg Soup Kitchen for the first time on September 30th. I thought it was very interesting because when I think of homeless people or people that go to soup kitchens I think of people in large cities. I never thought that quaint small towns were the home to people like the ones I met at the soup kitchen. When I arrived there were two men lingering outside of the building and I couldn't decide if they were waiting for the soup kitchen to open or if they were just regular townspeople. It definitely was no evident who was homeless/in need of the soup kitchen and who wasn't. The assumption that this characteristic is obvious is very untrue and that became clear to me when I saw everyone who came to the soup kitchen. For the most part, people were very nice. However, no one seemed to be overly grateful for the services being provided to them. One man was slightly pushy and tried to tell me how to do my job and where to stand when I served the food. Some people also were lacking in basic mannerisms. For example, I had to carry a vegetable tray around and offer veggies. I wore gloves and the people were supposed to tell me what they wanted and I would grab the vegetables and put them on a plate. One man in particular was very aggressive with the tray and would grab the veggies right off of the tray with his bare hands. However, most people were very polite, saying their "pleases" and "thank yous". I thought it was nice at the end how I was able to eat the left over food with some of the stragglers in the kitchen. I sat with a little girl named Iysis and her grandmother. They both seemed to be very positive and upbeat people. Iysis even reminded me a little bit of myself at her age. Apparently I came on a particularly busy day which was a relief to hear because the kitchen was very full and hectic. My main job was seeing what people wanted and delivering the food. It would get hard at times to keep track of everyone! It is scary how easily homelessness can affect anyone. I am looking forward to going to the soup kitchen this Tuesday to see how the days vary each time I go.

Posted at 09:33 am by Grandma
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Oct 4, 2014
Blog Post #2 Gettysburg CARES Office

Blog Post #2 This past week was my second experience at the Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. office. While the office is still not technically open until October 13th, there are always ways for us to help out in preparation for the busyness that is about to ensue. Just like last week, we saw “Bob” or “Harry” and said hello. However this week, when he responded to my question, “How are you today?” his answer stuck with me. In a situation like his, there are so many reasons to be negative and unfriendly, however Bob/Harry happily responded, “I am blessed everyday.” This small conversation was so thought provoking to me because it made me realize how grateful he, and many others, are for the services and support the office provides. After we arrived, we continued upstairs to the attic where we began to take inventory of the small amount of items that the office has collected. It is apparent that donations are very necessary, because even the simplest things that we take for granted, like tissues or shampoo, the office is lacking. After taking inventory I felt inspired to somehow acquire more donations for the office to help lessen the burden of the people working there who are always on the search for more donations, and to provide more for the people who need it most. Again, after only my second week at the office I feel as if I am already changing my perspective on certain aspects of life, like things I normally take for granted, and basic household necessities that I do not appreciate the importance of. I am eager to go back next week to continue preparation for the opening of the season.

Posted at 11:11 am by Kara Urbaniak
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