For the last day of community service, we chose to pick up trash along the beach in Oceanside near the pier. It was an absolutely lovely day even if picking up litter is not so. Unfortunately, taking public transportation caused a much later arrival time so there was not too much time before stomachs became empty. Since we were right by the pier, finding food was easy and we were able to eat quickly and get back down to the beach for some down time and swimming.
Although it was quite cold, it was easy to get used to the temperature. There was this section right by the shore where there were piles of rocks. It was very tricky to maneuver over to get to the point where swimming and jumping would not scrape your feet. A peer of mine and I walked all along the water attempting to find the best spot to enter, but of course the best spot was where we were originally.
Right next to the school campus there is a retirement home. This allows many opportunities for collaboration between the two. After participating and helping with many events through the activities coordinator, there is a strong connection. This meant that during this week we took a group of seniors out to lunch at a local In n Out. We students helped them find a seat, ordered their food, and engaged them in conversation.
Brookdale Place, the retirement home, is full of senior citizens from all over with so many different backgrounds which creates such a fascinating environment full of interesting stories.
Tuesday we chose to go to Casa de Amparo which is someplace we also went last year. This year, however, it was much cooler though we were not doing any gardening work like before. Casa de Amparo is a facility with many different programs that help and prevent abuse or neglect of children in San Diego County.
I find that it is always a worthwhile experience when one is supporting others their own age. It becomes more powerful since, in some cases, it is unbelievable certain things are happening to those the same age. This time we were there it was much more organized and there were many tasks that we were asked to do. We went right in and got to work. I was in a group of peers who chose to organize and clean the activities room. Activities was definitely the right title. There was a drum kit and treadmill scooted into a corner right next to a ping-pong table, and large shelving units full of craft supplies and games. It was a very busy room. Altogether it took three hours to clean, organize, and move tables around to offer more productive workspace.
One other colleague of mine and I hopped onto another job of changing the codes on Thank You letters. With a non-profit such as this it is important to save as much supplies as possible so all the benefits can go directly to the children. Six hundred and ninety seven letters were changed so that they could be used. Other jobs included picking up litter throughout the premises, emptying expired soda cans and disposing of them, organizing new library books, and putting together gifts for volunteers.
This year I have decided to participate, again, in Service-Session. This is an intersession focused upon getting out in the community and helping out. This is not only a great way to gather community service hours, but also a wonderful time to meet new people and engage in the community.
Today, Monday March 17th, was the day we ventured several miles to the North County Food Bank part of North County Community Services. This is an organization that takes donations of food (canned, boxed, and fresh) that is donated to other organizations in need of food. The products can also be purchased by those who can not afford necessary foods otherwise.
This was an organization we worked with last year, but not for as long. This time we were able to spend the whole day there so more work could be accomplished. The first job was to sort through all the breads that had been donated either by people or by local grocery stores. Why would you need to sort through? One big reason is to check for expiration dates. Some foods can last several days past, but many can not. Even doing just this is very helpful. Our group walked in and, like last year, there were large stacks of crates full of bread. When it piles up so much, many hands are needed to finish the job. This helps to ensure that more bread can be kept and later digested. Other jobs included cleaning the fridge, sorting produce, and cleaning the trucks that deliver the food.
In the past, I have donated quite a bit to this food bank. Whether from school related fundraisers, at home, or with the Girl Scout troop I was in when I was much younger. It is always a joy to have the opportunity to help this group because of the amazing work they do by getting food to those who need the support.
This blog documents the experience of being in Service-Session. This is an intersession focused on engaging with the community by helping with local organizations.
"Precisely because we are so inclined to think in terms of individual greatness and personal heroism, it is important for us to reflect carefully on the fact that the compassionate life is a community life."