I’ve been in Miami for a month now, which means that this is a good time for me to give my friends and family an update on what I’ve experienced thus far. I have also decided to supplement this post with GIFs (magical moving images) to make it more fun and to cause your computer to move slower! I realize that people have differing beliefs regarding the pronunciation of the word (g as in “gift” or j as in “jiff peanut butter”), so I made the title inclusive to make sure that everyone feels accepted. That’s the Presbyterian way.
I spent almost three weeks of the last month sitting at the house while my roommates went to work for 6-8 hours each day. At first, it was enjoyable. I got to sleep in a little bit, make endless PB&Js, and watch uninterrupted hours of Lost.
The enjoyable feeling quickly went away and I found other things to do that were more productive like washing dishes and researching what I want to do next year (WHAT????). Here is a Snapchat I sent my roommate during my days of despair:
Michelle (site coordinator) made my dreams come true by taking me to a Presbytery meeting. That day is when I realized that I am meant to be a Presbyterian. I left the meeting with so much energy from watching Robert’s Rules in action.
Last Wednesday, I woke up to an email saying that my background check had finally been processed and that I was ready to begin volunteering. As of today, I’ve only worked for three days, but it’s been REALLY nice to have a regular schedule. I’m at Miami Rescue Mission’s Center for Women and Children as an administrative assistant. The Center for Women and Children houses single women as well as mothers and their children for long-term stays. There are also short-term beds for single women. Case workers are on site who help each woman get back on track whether that’s getting a job, learning how to save money, or anything else. They provide many other services like showers and meals for walk-ins. The agency is faith-based which perfectly combines my religious studies degree and non-profit management minor from undergrad. During my first week of work, I’m spending my time shadowing the Guest Services employees in order for me to learn as much as I can about what goes on in the center. This involves answering a lot of phone calls and opening the door for clients.
My housemates and I work Mondays through Thursdays and on Fridays we have community days together. So far, we have
- helped at a soup kitchen that is run by a few nuns who are experts at what they do, followed by a birthday celebration for Quinten.
- watched a documentary about gentrification in a neighborhood very close to us and played team-building games.
- volunteered at South Florida’s Easter Seals Adult Day Care for seniors with varying levels of dementia. Here’s what we looked like, attempting to dance to salsa music with women who have 70 more years of experience:
In our 28 days of living here, we have tried to go to as many cheap/free things as possible. So far, we’ve gone to art walks, an American Indian Day festival, and watched lucha libre wrestling.The good thing about constant summer weather is that I’m not sure there’s an “off-season” as far as festivities go.
I hope this has been an enjoyable, sufficient update. I promise I will write more about what goes on at Miami Rescue Mission when I feel confident enough. I feel that I am too new there to understand completely what the Mission is all about. If you made it this far, thanks for caring about my year!