…have been posted to Bannerweb and Blackboard. Have a restful holiday.
…have been posted to Bannerweb and Blackboard. Have a restful holiday.
Here’s the deadline for the Policy Analysis Paper in writing (so you don’t have to worry about my forgetting : ) — The deadline is Saturday morning. I wake up around 6:30 a.m. and after coffee, I plan to grade. … Continue reading
In the beginning I learned that one choice made either of our own or made by another could about where we live could have a long-lasting impact on our future outcomes. I also learned that there were people who didn’t … Continue reading
Looking back on my semester of CBL service, I will take away one important thing if nothing else. Sometimes, our help is not always warranted, and sometimes, volunteers can be more of a burden on an organization than a help. … Continue reading
Probably my favorite book or reading we’ve covered in PoVo this semester has been “Place Matters.” After reading a specific section in the book on the decline of Detroit, it reminded me of an encounter I had at an airport … Continue reading
Working in the Richmond community these past three years has been eye-opening for me in so many ways. Being from a small, quiet, middle class suburb, I have been sheltered from many of the harsh realities of the “real world.” Probably my biggest take away has been learning that we shouldn’t have one normative baseline against which we compare all of mankind. We must remember that everyone has a different story. We come from different backgrounds, and what is normal for one person may not be normal for someone else, and that’s okay.
This is something I really had to train myself to think about while I was at Rubicon. Volunteering on Monday afternoons, I sat in on anger management sessions each week and heard clients with both mental health problems and substance abuse problems open up about personal things. A lot of the time, it was difficult for the staff clinician to get the clients to share more than a couple word answers, but every so often, people would express their feelings at length.
The staff clinician, Lynn, went around the room one day, as per usual, and asked the clients what their anger level on the anger scale was over the past few days. After hearing a few clients air their complaints, the circle stopped at a man who seemed to be in his thirties. Failing to leave out any hesitancy, the man began by stating is anger level at a 7. He explained that he had been at the HOPE Center for one week, and that the adjustment had been very difficult for him. He spoke of his frustrations concerning the strict time schedule the clients follow. Back on my first day at Rubicon, after getting a brief tour of the facility, one of the staffers showed me the clients’ daily schedules. Every day of the week is planned out to the exact minute. For example, part of my duties at Rubicon when I arrived at about 1:05pm on Monday afternoons involved waking up the 15 or so clients from their dorms at precisely 1:12pm to get them ready to stroll into conference room 307 for “group,” or the anger management session, at 1:15. The clients are required to do laundry on a specific day and time, and even have a blocked out time period where they are in the library.
At first, this schedule reminded me of being in elementary school. In elementary school, kids have their teachers plan out every second of every day. There are certain tasks and responsibilities required and expected of these young kids, and if they do not obey, there are consequences. However, there is one key difference: at about 3:45, when the school day ends, these kids leave school. They have freedom, to a certain degree, depending on their guardian’s parenting styles.
As this man was lamenting about the strict schedule at Rubicon and how he was not used to being told when we was allowed to do things, such as read and sleep, a female client interrupted him.
“You never been to jail?” she asked him incredulously.
This question stood out to me. Even more so than elementary school, the way in which Rubicon is structured is in fact quite like prison. Of course, the physical and emotional treatment of the clients is much better than in prison. But this man felt like the treatment he was receiving was paternalistic and rigid. Clients cannot freely leave the facility. Other clients chimed in, saying they, too, felt as if the strict schedule was tiresome, especially when it came to using the phone to call their families. Only a few minutes’ time was alone.
The fact that this woman who was surprised that the male client had never been to jail to experience this type of scheduling really reminded me that everyone has a different story, and we shouldn’t assume things in people. For this woman, it was clear that it was very normal for people to have been in jail. In my experiences in life, having not been in jail would be the norm.
I see similar themes in my work in the Boys and Girls Club, my Bonner site. For many kids, it’s normal for them to live with their grandparents while their parents are in jail, or for them to move to a different section of town because a shooting had occurred across the street from their house. Keeping in mind that norms different for every person is something I’ve learned to do while working in Richmond.
I had a rough start with the teacher of my class, so in order to wrap it up I want to go back to her in my final post. In the beginning I saw her really critical. She was so … Continue reading
Home. It’s a concept I never really thought much about. My parents built ours before I was born. From ages 5 through 18, the big, yellow school bus dropped me off at the end of my driveway, and I walked … Continue reading
Today was my last day at Overby – Sheppard. I was on the shuttle on my way there when I saw a mural paiting really close to Overby – Sheppard. It was huge and colorful, grey and pinks and purples … Continue reading
As much as I’ve enjoyed my time at Rubicon over the semester I have to be frank in my belief that my presence there didn’t really have a significant impact on the daily operations of the facility and to be … Continue reading
Throughout this semester, we have thought critically about our service sites and whether or not what we do there could positively impact the lives of those we intend to serve. Our presence at these sites is not neutral, every interaction with every … Continue reading
Please see below the change in the due time for the Policy Analysis Paper, also noted on the Course Readings page. We’ve finally made it to the last week of classes. Here’s a preview of the last days of the semester. … Continue reading
I extended my stay at Overby two weeks ago so I wouldn’t have to leave during readings stations, where the class needs the most help. As a side effect I now also get to play with the kids during recess … Continue reading
Report cards. If you’re anything like me, you would rather not know your grade than face the rest of your class gloating and self-inflating themselves over that little plus or minus sign beside an otherwise meaningless alphabet letter. This past … Continue reading
Sometimes I forget that there is a world outside of Rubicon when I’m volunteering there. During the hour-long group sessions it has become so easy to simply tap into the lives of the guys in treatment and not consider the … Continue reading
As part of my internship with the Virginia Home, I hold a program every Wednesday called Lifetime Learners. The premise of the program is to provide residents with a greater sense of agency due to increased knowledge about the world, and … Continue reading
This year, Higher Achievement enacted new curriculum goals and requirements of mentors. While these new reforms have much research and good intentions to back them up, they feel more to me like extra lesson plans for school. For me, the … Continue reading
For my last post about Overby Sheppard I wanted to talk about what I heard during my time in the school. As I have mentioned before there are no real walls separating the different classrooms. This leads to a very … Continue reading
Meeting Jeanette from the Faces of Hope for the first time was an amazing experience. Immediately I got the impression that we shared many of the same interests and passion, many of which could be seen in how she runs the … Continue reading
This past Friday I was at a Brown Bag discussion when a CCE staff asked, “How is Henderson?” It was a simple question, but one that evoked mixed emotions. I felt like I had just come back from study abroad again, … Continue reading