Social distancing :(
reviewed panic and the media about the pandemic and how it affects the office. additionally we debriefed the presentation from the previous night about harassment in the workplace.
interesting experience especially when there were only women but the fraternity was a coed business fraternity. There were no men in attendance.
So today was my final volunteer session at St. Albans with Iona Senior Services (at least until the students get to come back to live on the university's campus). Everyone is talking about and either under-reacting or overreacting to the Coronavirus. Sadly, Ife, my usual bud during lunch serving time was not there, as American University was on spring break, but Ellen had returned from Hawaii, and good ole, reliable Nathaniel was there too. Two women I talked to, who were regulars at the center, seemed in great moods. One woman had just fallen last week, and was telling me about her 8-year old great granddaughter and how she tried to give her a face mask and had sanitizer for the virus, which made us both laugh. The other woman did not remember me and asked me, again, where I was going to school. Ellen and Nathaniel set up kitchen stuff and prepared all the lunch trays for the seniors. Meanwhile, I set up the tables and chairs outside in the main space, and wrote on the dry erase board what the day's schedule and lunch would be. Then I chatted with one of the workers there in Spanish, and we talked about the crazy reactions some individuals and institutions were having over the Coronavirus. Later, Ellen and I helped Nathaniel prepare lunch, and then we served out the food to all of the seniors according to dietary restrictions. After lunch, while Nathaniel and Ellen were cleaning up, I led another discussion on my own (Courtney helped me and gave me the confidence to lead it despite my limited knowledge on many current events) concerning the health precautions and designated action we should take related to this Coronavirus outbreak. One woman was skeptical about the whole thing, saying how a lot of these health precautions that the CDC is recommending now, like washing hands thoroughly and not touching your face after touching a public table/doorknob, were practices people should have already been used to. We talked a lot about how the U.S. government and healthcare system were tackling the situation. Some seniors had conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus, but others had more fact/evidence-based comments about the spread of the virus. Then we got into the electoral college system, modern-day politics, the differences between (age) generations in the U.S. concerning political action, and the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. I ended the discussion by saying that empathy, better listening and communication skills, and respect are all things each individual should acquire/posses if we are to truly change the problematic foundations/institutions that run everyday societal actions.
Assisting seniors locally is an integral part of being members of the communities in which we live. I had a great experience assisting a member of FBWE Village with grocery shopping and walking around her neighborhood.
served and cleaned up meal
served meal and interacted with patrons
had a great week with my students
I did more phone banking and had a wonderful time while engaging with the members of ONEDC about the annual membership meeting!
Began the time by brainstorming ideas to make the new Office more inviting for students and then talked with one of the advocates about her job and what it means to work at the office
Great first day! Everyone was so nice. Can't wait to go back!
Helped make breakfast and serve it.
Today was a heck of a day. I got to St. Albans church a little late and I put out all of the chairs for Gerri's exercise training for the seniors. Then Ife and I sat down and talked to Joy and Star for a while. Joy was telling us about her work with helping people in DC who are experiencing homelessness, her battle with depression, her family, and her problems with the healthcare system. Star just came back from visiting family in Guyana, and told us about her time there and her dancing legacy (her granddaughter dances just like her). There was another volunteer today at the center as well, he was another high school student from DC (but originally from Harlem, NY). We all prepared the food trays, silverware, and prepared food. The lunch rush did get pretty crazy, because we started late and did not have enough vegetarian meals for the vegetarians! So Courtney and Nathaniel improvised and cooked up some rice & beans with spinach. Ife and I helped season. Then after lunch clean-up, Ife and I helped lead a discussion circle with Courtney and the seniors (Current Topics is what they call it). Ife and I shared our knowledge and thoughts about various current hot-button issues like the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the U.S., Super Tuesday (presidential campaign in 2020 nominees), and Climate Change and its effects on food production and nutrition in relation to race/socioeconomic class. It was a little stressful but extremely humbling to have a peaceful, calm, yet hard conversation.