This week threw me through a loop. I never thought I would experience homelessness, yet alone have dinner with homeless people. I learned and felt so many new things going on this trip that I would never have learned if i didn’t go. Now, after the class is done, it’s time for me to plan what I am going to do with all of this knowledge. Considering I am just about to enter my second semester of freshman year there is not much I can really do to help this cause, or any cause for that matter, besides volunteering or word of mouth. But isn’t that all you really need to do? I was told today by the Vice-President of the SecondHarvest food bank that the best way for a non-profit organization to be successful is to involve the community as much as possible. This inspired me that I can contribute even though it is only in a small way. That’s the myth I want to debunk: that just because you are a student or someone who can’t donate a ton of money doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to something that you are passionate about. Okay, it’s decided, I will do anything I can, no matter how small the contribution is.
So now I challenge you to go out and be engaged, do anything you can, and try to engage the rest of the community as well. Then maybe, just maybe, we can give these organizations a fighting chance.
It was a shock, a complete and utter shock. Being away from Orlando made it seem like the problem of homelessness was only in Saint Petersburg but today i was reminded that it is not; homelessness is an epidemic in every major city in the country especially in Orlando. It is a literal divide, on one side of the train tracks are high price condos, successful buisnesses, clean streets and parks filled with playful children and their Mothers. On the other side there are houses with boarded up windows, run down buildings, no trashcans and a much more noticeable population of people living on the streets.
This world is 15 minutes away from Rollins, from me. After witnessing this part of Orlando, we went to the main campus of the Coalition for the Homeless where we met Jenn. Jen is a wonderful, friendly women who worlds for the coalition. She explained how the Coalition operates and gave us a tour of their facilities. If there is any place in Orlando to volunteer at is the Coalition. We did crafts with Mothers and their children who were living at the Coalition, it was an amazing day, and I would go back there every day if I could.
Today showed me that this problem is much closer to home then any of us thinks. The fact I go to school and live in this beautiful area while these people, these children, live like this so close to me makes me so uneasy. Now all I want to do is help.
These last few days have completely changed my perspective of the homeless and now that I understand what it entails I am ready to make a plan to help end it. I have had great times and emotional times this week and I wouldn’t change any of it.
So please PLEASE consider volunteer at the Coalition and for the local Habitat for Humanity, I promise you it will be worth it.
me at the job site
Ahhh the sweet smell of hard work, sweat, mud, and salmon colored paint. Today was a fun and interseting day on the worksite. I had the please of working all day with the lovely Katia under the supervision of the awesome, sassy David: the 86 year old house building wonder. He wore a neon green hardhat and rainbow suspenders; if that doesn’t prove how great this man is I don’t know what will. Katia and I drilled and drilled untill we could drill no more and then we moved on to painting the house, where most of the paint ended up on us.
Even though we had only been working on the site for two days it is bittersweet to be leaving tomorrow. I really wanted to see the project through and marvel at the finished project. Alas, Rollins is calling us home and I can safely say I am ready for my own bed.
Earlier today Katia and I were discussing how happy we were to have gone on this trip and how much we have enjoyed it. It is definetly better to experience a subject like homelessness and poverty first hand instead of the classroom. In the last few days I have heard stories about being homless from the homless and experienced seeing a family so excited to be getting a house that they can raise a family. Saint. Petersburg has left a pretty deep impression on me and I can’t wait to share this experience with others.
But the story doesn’t end here! Even though we are going home, we will still continue to learn and reflect by going to the coalition for the homeless in Orlando tomorrow which should just as insightful.
So goodnight lovebugs, I hope you have had a wonderful last few days just as I have.
oh by the way, WE WENT GO KARTING (is that one word?). It was so much fun and scared the crap out of me. This picture is after the final race and I think we all look pretty darn fierce.
Today has been filled with a cornicopia of emotions. I did and felt so many things that it is really hard for me to put into words, I honestly can’t even. So instead of trying to summarize my day for you, I have put together a list of things I learned today.
THINGS BECCA LEARNED TODAY:
1) It’s natural to feel guilty about what you have
2) a small act of kindness can make one big difference
3) llisten to someone’s story, it might change your mind compleatly
4) having a place to call home is something I really take for granted
5) people are people. no matter how little you have you are still a human being and deserve to be treated like one.
Today was an amazing day, I would do it again a hundred times and I can’t wait for tomorrow. I don’t think I can truly express how happy I am to have come on this trip and to take part in these activites.
I decided that instead of putting up a picture in this blog (sorry Jerrid!), I thought I would provide the link to the Habitat for Humanity website and some links that have to do with helping the homeless. I encourage you to just check them out; you dont have to donate or commit to anything, just take a look.
alright, it’s bedtime. Sleep tight kiddos.
Some cool links:
Habitat For Humanity: www.habitat.org
The Doe fund: www.doe.org
Pinellas County Collition for the Homeless: www.PinellasHomeless.org
Welcome back everyone! You ready for a brand spanking new semester? I’m not, not yet anyway, I need to slowly integrate myself back into the Rollins community with an immersion trip during intersession. I’m going to be honest with you, when i signed up for this particular class I did mainly for two reasons: 1) my friends were doing it and 2) there was no outside work besides this blog. Lets be real, no one wants to write an essay when they first get back from Winter Break. But today was one of those days where I found myself doing a complete 360 from where I first was. I am so excited to be on this trip, not just because of the perks, but because I really get to make a difference in someones life. I have always admired what Habitat for Humanity does and it’s awesome that I can participate. I am going to help build someones home, most likely the first home they have ever owned; a place where their family will feel safe and provide the stability children need to grow up happy.
Geez, I am gagging at my first paragraph because even I think it’s extremely mushy and cliche, but it is also completely true. Security is not something these families have a lot of and having that chance to provide some feels really good. I know I will never truly understand what these women have gone through being on welfare and trying to support their family but the next best thing I can do is understand why they are in this situation and come up with ways to help them besides working with Habitat for Humanity. As you have figured out by now, and if you haven’t done so it’s time for you to leave, but this trip isn’t going to suck at all. This trip is providing me with an opportunity to do something I would not have gone out and done one my own. This week is going to be filled with emotions and I expect that there will be some crying (most likely it will be me since I can’t even hold it together during a hallmark commercial) but I know it’s going to be something that I will always be glad I did.
okay, I am tired from all the work I did today (obnoxiously sharing my opinion with everyone and driving….well I didn’t drive but still.) So I am off to bed. Good night and cross you’re fingers that Kate doesn’t kick me while we are sleeping, she is a kicker.