I feel like so far I've pretty much solely written on here about my work at Little Brothers - and just life. But I wanted to share with you about some of the other work we are doing this year.
We only work at our regular placements four days a week, Monday through Thursday. That's really hard for some people, especially my co-workers at Little Brothers, to understand. It's not because we're just taking Fridays off though; actually it's quite the opposite - on Fridays we are out the door very early and often these days leave me quite exhausted. Fridays are "Community Day."
We are doing a service project together, as a community, with JD, a Community Organizer with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Our project is centered around relieving some of the burdens of homelessness in elementary aged students, by making them aware and helping them receive the benefits that they already should be. See, the actual definition of homelessness is a lot more broad then a lot of people realize; homeless includes those people whose housing situation is "unstable" - people who are "doubled up" (living with friends or relatives because they can't afford their own place), living in hotels or cars, as well as those living in shelters or on the street. Those students who fall under one of those categories and are therefore considered technically "homeless" are entitled to some things - things like free bus cards to help them get to school, help with school uniforms, and waived school fees to name a few - that the schools are supposed to be providing for them. But the majority of them aren't receiving these services and don't even know about them. So we are starting out by trying to make the people in this neighborhood aware of this. Right now we are doing outreach outside one of the elementary schools in our neighborhood, by doing surveys and handing out flyers to parents as they bring their kids to school in the morning. We are hoping to make some connections and build relationships with community members who will be able to then take charge of the situation themselves to help the homeless people in their own neighborhood.
Besides that project, we are also doing other things. We are reading books, like "Never a City So Real" and discussing them, serving at the Salvation Army, working on our community Covenant, and having some fun together. Next Friday we're going camping together (after we finish with JD), with the goal of telling our Life Stories! I'm pretty stoked for that!