Saturday, February 20, 2010

Working in the Community

The other night, a distressed refugee came into the shelter, looking for safety for her and her seven kids. An eviction notice was looming in the future and she had no options. A dutiful relief society president was by her side, recording phone numbers and community resources that would assist in their search for hope. I liked pulling out the 211 Social Services directory and watching the panic drain out of their faces. They eventually felt hopeful enough to leave and try their luck with the vast amount of community resources. Do you know that you can call 211 from any phone and be connected to any social service agency in Utah? They are nice and helpful and can answer all your questions. You should just do it. It makes be feel warm inside to know there are such things in this state. Because, more than giving out shampoo, more than coordinating family dinners, more than seeing families move out of the shelter, I like telling people about community resources. I love it! I see community development and collaboration in my future, at least that is what the eight ball told. And it doesn't lie.

People ask me if I ever go home crying, if what I see at the shelter effects me emotionally. When I went to interview, I will be honest, I was scared to be there. But mostly, you get used to it. But I am a firm believer that humans can get used to almost anything. Squatter toilets, no electricity, Nothing distresses me much any more, maybe I have a cold heart. But I think I have learned to decipher what is real. It's sad to see kids living in the shelter, but they love it, they have tons of fun, it is more sad when parents go to the hospital for drug overdose and then their kids get taken away. That is worse.

4 stamps of approval:

The Smiths said...

I agree. Knowledge is power and spreading knowledge through information of available resources is incredible powerful for those families you work with. I love helping people find the hope that is out there. On a side note, I work with those kids you mentioned, the ones who are taken away when their parent's life become controlled by drugs... and even in that there is hope. Hope that the parents will take advantage of the resources and change. And when that doesn't happen it is hope that the children will have a chance at a life with a few less worries and struggles. And Hope is what makes it worth it.

You Rock Syd. Keep up the good work!

ashley said...

This is really interesting to read. I wish that we could go back to school again, with our same classmates, after a few years of working and living in the real world. I feel like we would all have so much more to discuss. I feel like I'm not done learning yet. Do you feel the same way? I think you are doing some really important things. I hope you come to NYC soon!

Amber said...

Maybe you are right that we could all get used to anything, and maybe we underestimate our strength but I still believe you have an incredible gift for these sort of things. You have always been able to talk about tough things and be real with people and I envy that!

Miri said...

Dear Sydney, I just thought I'd let you know that I stumbled across your blog the other day and I think what you're doing is so amazing! I heard about the Peace Corps from Elise's blog. Obviously I never got to know you well enough at the hood because I had no idea you were so cool. Just wanted to let you know I'm lurking. :)