Hello! My name is Mackenzie and I am in charge of reflections for the week. Last night we focused on setting goals for ourselves and the group. One of my goals included being engaged when we’re volunteering by keeping my cell phone “out of site and out of mind.” I’m trying to keep in turned off while we’re working on sites and when our group is together (i.e. dinner, reflections).
Tonight our reflection focused on what it would feel like if we were homeless and we played a sort of morality game. I created yes or no questions and encouraged people to pick yes or no by walking to a side of the room. Some examples:
-You are homeless and have been eating out of trash cans for the past month. You are preparing to scrounge again tonight when you notice a pizza delivery person has left a stack of pizzas unattended? Do you steal one?
-You are living in poverty with a child and can only afford a few meals for them a week. You know that at school they always get a free lunch, but one day your child is sick. If you send your kid to school, they risk getting much sicker and you cannot afford a doctor’s visit or medicine, but they won’t get lunch. Would you risk them getting sicker in order for them to get lunch?
-You have been struggling for a long time and have been thinking about transitional housing. However, if you choose to join you must attend AA and substance abuse classes, even if you have never had a problem with addiction. Also, you might be required to go through a reflection period where you must abstain from talking to anyone in the outside world such as your parents, girlfriend/boyfriend, children, etc. for a period of time. Would you agree to these circumstances? (**This question was created because these are actual standards that Christopher’s Place and many other programs lay out. I actually talked to a man tonight who is deciding to leave the program because he does not agree with the forced substance abuse classes.)
The point of these questions wasn’t to pose a right or wrong answer, it was to show that we all have different views. I thought this was especially important because tomorrow night we are going to hear from a panel of men who stay at Christopher’s Place and their stories might surprise us. I think I might definitely hear things that I might not agree with, but its more important to keep an open mind. Judging the men won’t help anyone.
I am so excited for tomorrow and for all the new experiences. Today wasn’t the easiest day for me…. sometimes I feel like I can’t come up with the right words to say to people or that I just can’t relate. However, I’m excited for the challenge and hopefully I’ll come out of this more confident.