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Site Reflections

Posted on 07/06/2010 @ 01:01 PM

Impact: Boston

Greater Waltham Arc (GWArc- People First)

"During my time at GWArc, I had the amazing opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the consumers and truly get to know who they are. From joking around with them to learning about serious topics, the bonds I’ve formed with the consumers at GWArc will be with me forever. One of my favorite parts of my experience was when one of the consumers expressed to me how much he appreciated our group being at the organization and spending time with him. I’ll never forget this experience and am so grateful I was able to be a part of such a wonderful cause."

Robyn Croft, Bellaire, TX

"GWArc has had a really huge impact on me and I will never forget this amazing experience...We learned about People First language and how we shouldn't just say mute or blind but instead say a person who can't speak or hear. This is really important because it is respectful. They are people too. They have emotions and they are aware of their surroundings."

Raphaela Kramer, Pittsfield, MA

"People First has really made me look at many things in different ways. Like how to treat a person with a mental disability. . .I now know that people like Stephen (my partner at the site) can be just a interesting as anyone else you know. This experience will change me for life."

Jeremy Samarel, Charlotte, NC

WCI (Work, Community, Independence)

This week at WCI, the teens were hard at work on their creative information boards. They painted one large canvas along with individuals in the Social Skills/Art Initiative program, and collaged a smaller bulletin board with the individuals in the higher-need Life Skills program. Additionally, we paid a visit to the office of Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) to advocate for continued public funding to organizations like WCI. All of the teens were able to spend a few minutes with one of Senator Brown's aides, and they valued the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Youth Force

“In order to raise awareness and promote our campaign for youth jobs, we went out into the Dorchester area and knocked on people’s doors asking them to vote in the upcoming election for governor. We helped convince citizens to vote in the election and reminded them when the election takes place. In downtown Boston and Boston commons, we went around handing out flyers and informing people of our campaign. Since Scott Brown is against funding for youth jobs, we tried to get people to call his office and attend the rally to gain support. To end off our time with the Youth Force teens, we went down to City Hall and participated in a rally to try to convince the city council to include funding for youth jobs in their budget for the city. We also sat in on the city council’s final vote for Boston’s budget and listened to the issues being brought up. By us participating in the rally, we raised attention to show that we care about youth jobs and that
our campaign is important.”

Sami Beatty, Centennial CO

“Through Youth Force we have helped make an impact in the Greater Boston area, we have learned skills to bring back home to make an impact on our own communities, and just as importantly, we have built relationships with the youth force teens, making an impact on ourselves. We went into Youth Force with assumptions and not really understanding the importance of their cause, but we learned they are teens just like us who trained us in community organizing. We learned about each others’ lives through heart-to-hearts and we connected with them on multiple levels. We contributed what we could to their campaign, but they have given us so much more. They showed us their community and how important it is to be involved and make changes to better it. We learned all about their campaign for youth jobs, but we learned on a personal level why it is so necessary. As much as we have gotten out of our experiences within the community, we have gotten so much more out of the friendships we have grown with each other.”

Rachel Beiser, Potomac, MD

Spare Change News

“We learned that ignorance about homelessness is just as big of an issue as homelessness itself."

Dylan Weil, Lyndhurst, OH

“Too many times do we pass people on our way to work or school who are begging for any amount of spare change without even stopping to say “good morning.” But who would have ever guessed that Mr. Important Businessman is one paycheck away from losing his house? Or that Ms. Dirty Dorris who wears ragged clothing every day is really much happier by purchasing clothes with her million dollar inheritance to donate to those less fortunate? A homeless person has no specific gender, race, or look. It is impossible to tell a person’s social or economic status by the clothes they wear or the people with whom they associate. Everything is, truly, not what it seems."

Shira Solomon, Cherry Hill, NJ

“All people should be respected and treated fairly without regard to one’s socioeconomic status. I’ve heard stories of kind people being kicked out of a restaurant or not allowed to use the restrooms because they were not the venue’s target clientele. Homeless people walk with a lot of weight on their shoulders figuratively and literally. . . Homeless people lead hard, brutal lives,and are often more likely to smile at another homeless person or offer some words of wisdom than the average businessman who I see disrespect or completely ignore other people. Where has the world’s compassion gone?”

Jaclyn Turner, Atlanta, GA

"There is no one look for homelessness. Homelessness is not as easy to spot as a neon t-shirt-- it camouflages itself differently on each of its victims. “

Claire Nuchtern, Houston, TX

“I no longer walk past homeless people and turn the other way out of fear, discomfort or content. Rather, I stop and spare some change for the less fortunate; but more importantly, I share a smile and some words of comfort. I now know that in addition to providing a good source of protein and nutrition, a package of peanut butter crackers for under two dollars at CVS can make a homeless man’s day.” Jori Epstein, Dallas, TX

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