Tuesday, October 25, 2011

surrounded by so much possibility, culture, and inspiration

Elizabeth Bennett
Before leaving my home in New Mexico, I tried to imagine what life would be once I began living and working in New York City. A blank canvas of the unknown stared back at me.  When I told people about my plans to live in Queens and volunteer in the South Bronx, my news was often met with looks of concern and questions as to why I would want to do such a thing. I had no personal experience of the East Coast to use to color in my expectations of the future, and anxiety built as I faced my own ignorance about what was to come; however, after spending only a little over a month in the city, New York has revealed itself as a masterpiece that must be experiences in person.
When I reflect back on my time here it is hard, impossible really, for me to pick out one story to share with you.  Should I tell you about the Puerto Rican woman who sells fresh alcapurrias from a shopping cart on 3rd Ave? Should I tell you about the parade of folks who pass through the subway offering  a song, a story, a DVD, a dance, or a candy bar in exchange for whatever change you can spare? Should I tell you about the vibrant Indian Independence Day Parade we happened upon one Sunday morning? Should I tell you about getting caught in the rain and picnicking under a gazebo we shared with a large family playing Latin dance music from a boom box?  Should I tell you about getting goose bumps at a Saturday night poetry reading?  Should I tell you about getting goose bumps at Mercy Center’s new staff orientation as my supervisors shared how they are nurturing the spirit of Mercy in the Bronx?  Or perhaps about getting to know the history of the Bronx as we passed out thousands of program flyers around the neighborhood, letting people know what Mercy Center has to offer?  
So many recent experiences have helped create a thrilling introduction of New York, and it is only just the beginning.   I am very excited to continue discovering all that the city has to offer, and I am honored to have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to such a fascinating place.  Never before have I been surrounded by so much possibility, culture, and inspiration.
Elizabeth Bennett - Mercy Center - Bronx, NY

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Transforming my life

left to right Katie Gwynn, Agnes Cannella, Jenny Brown
         As I started to get acquainted with the beautiful city of Savannah and the people here, I realized what a blessing this volunteer experience is for me. I have been able to meet many different people throughout my journey so far and every one has left a lasting impression on me.  I have found a marvelous match for me here in Savannah in my supervisor, “The Jenny Brown”. Jenny has taken me to several different places, introduced me to the sweetest people, has supported me with my work, and has helped inspire me through my spiritual walk. I am so grateful to be able to have such a marvelous supervisor that can support and encourage me in so many ways!
It is difficult to pinpoint one particular experience that has been life-changing during my time with MVC because on an almost daily basis I am meeting so many people who are transforming my life. It’s remarkable to me to look back at the different activities and different people I have met throughout my time here so far! I have found my niche with the Arts and Crafts class for the Day Center and also with the beautiful Tybee Beach! I have also started to learn sign language and communicating with some of my clients- it’s an amazing feeling! There’s definitely a share of different adventures down here in Savannah! I am looking forward to continuing my future here with all the wonderful people that surround me!

Katie Gwynn - St. Joseph's/Candler SOURCE Program - Savannah, GA

Monday, October 3, 2011

a more welcoming place for all

Amy Keller
            Our time in Detroit has been full of new adventures and exciting challenges.  Just last week, all of us moved into a beautiful new house and have since been setting it up to make it presentable for when the sisters come to visit, which is often!  Last weekend we had the joy of celebrating Mercy Day with the sisters in Detroit and had a wonderful time being welcomed into their evening of prayer and dinner.  As someone who attended a Mercy High School, I was thrilled to once again spend the day with the sisters!
            My experience at work has been wonderful so far. I am the Education and Community Playwriting Coordinator, which basically means I help organize and teach classes and also update scripts for the Matrix Theatre Company.  Both of these things are tremendous fun, and I love working with the kids to create new scripts based on their open imaginations.  Classes begin this week for all age groups and each one will be creating their own script and acting it out in December.  I am really looking forward to what they come up with! On Thursday evenings I work with a different section of the theatre that is creating a play about the use and abuse of water in Detroit. It will be presented here in February, and the writers don’t necessarily have a theatre background, but all of them enjoy the process of collaborating with writing.  I am learning a lot from them, because I usually just write solo.
            Justice issues are certainly coming up every day I am here as well.  I am learning much more about water preservation, and helping the swamplands in Michigan, which I knew hardly anything about back in August.  Also, the topic of immigration has always been important to me, and I have encountered many sisters who are passionate about the issue as well. There are rallies in Detroit and other events to raise awareness for why Detroit needs to be a more welcoming place for all, and I am excited to get more involved with this. 

            All in all, the experience so far has been great. I enjoy the job, fellow MVC family, and the opportunities here.  Next up on the list is seeing a Detroit Red Wings game!

Amy Keller - Matrix Theartre Company - Detroit, MI