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service day

So, I promised myself that I would keep posting and here I am. Lol, it's 3:45 again. Same time I posted last night. Today was actually much more fun than I thought it would be. We had our service day for the homeless on campus and I was busy as hell all morning, but it was fun and informative at the same time.

All of the people from work began to trickle in starting at around 6:30 this morning, and I was immediately put to work setting up for the days events. I put out tables and chairs for the over 600 people we expected to come in, blew up balloons for decorations, helped set up the stage for the band, and helped prepare the breakfast. The guests began to arrive some time around 8:00, and they trickled in throughout the day one van at a time from the shelters in town. For the first two hours or so after that I was put to work on the registration table filling out homeless management information sheets on all of the people who came in and explaining what things we had available for them. We had showers and haircuts available for anyone who wanted them, we were giving away goody bags filled with hygiene items and other essentials such as jackets, blankets, and umbrellas, the van from the employment center was there to help the guests find jobs, the people from the health center were there to give out checkups and teeth cleanings, the people from the veterans center were there to help the homeless veterans, and about 20 other booths were set up with everything from games for the kids to condoms and std checks for the adults.

After my initial time at the sign in booth I went to get some coffee because I was freaking exhausted, and when I came back to the booth my position was filled by another volunteer so I took the time to explore all of the different booths. The people from the different organizations were very excited once they heard I was a social work student and gladly spent time speaking with me about the services they offered and handing me pamphlets to read. I spent an extended amount of time talking to the people from catholic charities who turned out to be very nice, and I spoke with them about their refugee service which a friend of mine from class Michelle is doing her internship at.

The highlight of the entire day though in my opinion was the shelter band who were playing a show throughout the event. Every member of the band is homeless and stays at the shelter, and plays an instrument which was donated to them by the Florida State school of music. They were actually very good, and played a nice mix of cover songs and original material. After one of their sets I got to speak with the guy who played the sax for the band, and he told me how music saved his life. Music was his whole life, but he also had a crack addiction and had to sell his instrument at a pawn shop to feed his habit. He was going to commit suicide a week later when the donation from the school of music came in and he was allowed to begin playing again. He was so grateful for the chance to play music again that he gave up his crack habit, and has been living clean for eight months.

I spoke with lots of the homeless people there today, and really enjoyed listening to their stories. I honestly had no idea that there were this many homeless individuals living in Tallahassee. According to the data that we picked up today we served over 800 individuals.

After speaking with some more of the guests it was around lunch time so I helped serve lunch with the other guys from work. It was nothing major, just some red beans and rice with sausage, but the guests were so happy to have a hot meal it amazed me.

After lunch I could not stay awake any longer, so I told my mentor that I was heading home early to go to bed. I walked the dog when I got home and immediately crashed out until 9:30 when I had to get up and get ready for work again. Work has been easy tonight, so I managed to catch up on some homework and even write in my journal, but now it is time for me to go because I have to go do some more rounds. I will talk to you later all.



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February 2013
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