Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spotlights - FIN!

Kaitlin Blair Talley

Kait "Delicate Hands" Talley is a sophomore English major, minoring in political science and Ben Tracy. As a co-celebrity blogger for the DC team, Kait was able to demonstrate her expertise in writing, editorializing, and hearing voices. Back at BSC, Kait is very ACTive in EnACT. Haha. She's also a regular volunteer for First Light Women's Shelter, and this summer will make a triumphant return to DC as a Hess Fellow for Vital Voices. Her main goal, however, is to make it back to DCCK and win the heart of Ernesto (sorry, Ben). Not even this, though, can overshadow her greatest DC triumph - taking a picture with Barak, and holding the safe coffee pot as Michelle. Democrats represent!

Did someone say something?!

Helen Foster Marchman

Helen "H-Money" Marchman is a junior voice performance major from Florence, AL. Her interests include singing, blogging, not eating cheese, and trying to keep Pooja from stealing her stuff. While in DC Helen took advantage of the many opportunities to learn more about her values and passions - namely, that her favorite Krispy Kreme donut is chocolate sprinkles, rather than original glazed. Helen is most afraid of Ms. Dot "busting" her, but in times of crisis she finds comfort in wondering, What Would Paris Do? When she grows up Helen wants to be a Disney character. In the meantime, she's devoting herself to being Eric's number one facebook fan.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Final Word...

Hello readers! Long time, no see!

We have left the Pilgrimage and Washington D.C. and are currently at the Blue Mountain Lodge in Knoxville, Maryland. We're here till Tuesday when we head back to Birmingham via plane. The purpose of our stay here is just to relax and reflect on our time in the District before entering the "real world" again. So far, we have enjoyed a morning of silence, group and individual reflections, yoga, and some delicious food prepared by the lodge's owner.

Our last entry left us wrapping up Day 12 of the journey. By this point, we'd been to all of the organizations at least once, and were looking forward to revisiting.

Day 13

MLK Day- One of our less strenuous days, we had the morning free and then headed to DCCK for the night co-op shift. Then, free time! More museum visits (update on favorites to come!), shopping in Adams Morgan, or just restful afternoons.

Day 14

We went to Food and Friends for the second time and worked in two groups, some in the kitchen and some outside doing ground maintenance. In the afternoon, we took a tour of the Capitol building. We unfortunately did not meet any Senators or see the meeting rooms currently in use, but seeing the original meeting rooms of the Senate and House was exciting. Once again, connecting our service experiences to advocacy has been very beneficial to understanding our work here more completely.

Day 15

Some of the group went to DCCK in the morning for an optional shift, as the Kitchen had just received a large donation and needed volunteers. But the group met back at the Capitol that afternoon for a photo with AL Sen. Jeff Sessions and then headed over to AL Rep. Artur Davis' office. Big day. Unfortunately, Rep. Davis was not in town, but we were able to meet with his Chief-of-Staff and ask questions that we had for the Congressman about homeless advocacy and other things on our minds. For more information about legislation concerning homelessness, go to the webpage for the National Alliance to End Homelessness

Day 16

We had a morning shift at DCCK, and this was our last time to be working there. After eating the provided lunch, we chased down the staff we'd grown close to for pictures. We think we can probably speak for everyone when we say that we'd love to visit and volunteer at DCCK in the future and hope this won't be our last time. We even offered some of the staff t-shirts from our trip, so hopefully they will never forget us. Yes, they are booked with volunteers until June so they see quite a few people, but we like to think our Southern charm rubs off on people.

The rest of the day was free so we took advantage by visiting museums and monuments we hadn't gotten to yet. (Again...keep reading to find out favorites!)

Day 17

Our last day of service in D.C. We split up into two groups to work at Thrive DC and Martha's Table. The team then met up for lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street, enjoying chili in various forms and taking advantage of the gift shop of the local favored restaurant. Once again, we took the rest of the day for one last round of sight-seeing. Our last day was sad, but I think the team all agreed that the lack of sweet tea and Southern accents was starting to get a little tiresome. We will be excited to come home...

Day 18

The team woke up for cleaning and packing and headed out to the Lodge in a Yukon and 12 passenger bus. When asked beforehand who the better driver was, Kent assured us it was him, but only because of his age. An hour and a half later, we arrived at the house in Knoxville and settled in for the short stay.

Day 19

Started off today with a few hours of silence. We all took advantage of this in different ways, taking walks, reading, collecting thoughts in our journals. We came together for a writing exercise and then had a yoga session. After yet another delicious supper and stimulating reflection, we are wrapping up the night with some rowdy games of Family, Spoons, and various other competitive games. We are still trying to figure out how to beat Mike Popwell at poker, but so go.

AND NOW, THE MOMENT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Our nominations and final vote on favorite tourist attraction in D.C. The Washington Post wants this information as well, so feel privileged to receive it first.

And the nominees are...

Holocaust Museum-
"Capitol Steps" Political Comedy Show
Lincoln Memorial
Mt Vernon
The U.S. Capitol
Alexandria (Old Town)
White House
Real World House
National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of American History
Library of Congress
Ice Skating
Folger Shakespeare Library
Air and Space Museum
Natural History Museum
Portrait Gallery
The D.C. Metro

And the winner is...

A TIE! Between the Lincoln Memorial and the Holocaust Museum!!

All in all, we saw too many wonderful things to really decide on a favorite. But for the sake of remembering some of what made our trip so fun, we thought the list might help.

In closing...we thought we would leave you with the quote that helped begin, inspire, and complete this trip:

"Do your little bit of good where you are, it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."
-Desmond Tutu

Thank you all so very much for your loyal reading!

With love from Harpers Ferry,

The 2010 Service Learning Interim to Washington D.C.

p.s....we WILL finish the spotlights. Not to worry :)

p.p.s.- Sara Doughton FINALLY won a game of Family. We can now all go home happy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spotlights revisited

Sara Marie Doughton

Sara Marie Doughton, Assistant Director of the Bunting Center at Birmingham-Southern College, is a graduate of the English program at Birmingham-Southern College with a concentration in being a boss. She is engaged to marry Webb Lyons, but got a tattoo of the name "Ernesto" on her left shoulder while on this trip. For those who do not know, Ernesto is an employee of DCCK and one of the best people on Earth. Sara's favorite form of a potato is a fry, and her least favorite smell is the boys' room here at the Pilgrimage. When Sara hears rap music, it makes her want to "get down." She is a lover of this blog, silence, college students, and the Potter's House in D.C. When asked who stole the cookie from the cookie jar, Sara responded "Massachusetts". Very deep.

Kent Steven Andersen
Professor Andersen is an English professor at Birmingham-Southern College, but he originated in Iowa. Professor Andersen has been on several service-learning interims including Ecuador and India. From all of these experiences, Professor Andersen has come to the conclusion that college is really for critical thinking and falling in love. Professor Andersen has four beautiful cats: Kitty, Emmet, Snoopy, and Daymo (also known as D-Dog). When asked what book made him cry the most, the professor responded "Three Cups of Tea...I cried through the whole thing." On another note, his favorite ice cream is Pralines and Creme. Professor Andersen most often gets compliments on his eyes, and if he could master any one language it would be English. However, service-learning has his heart as well. Please note the picture of him above from service learning 2008 and guess which one he is.

Caitlin Hammond Barringer

Caitlin is a Senior Psychology major from Chatty, Tennessee. Known in the group as a spectacular joke teller, she gives us one for her home state- "Are you from Tennessee? Cause you're the only ten I see." Her favorite Halloween costume so far is a ceiling fan and next year she is considering dressing up as Ms. Dot from DCCK. One of her favorite activities is following the Presidential family on Twitter, although Caitlin prefers to use the more politically correct terms POTUS (President of the United States) and FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States). This past semester, Caitlin taught a rat named Phyllis to play basketball. Following this great success (see Air Phyllis MVP), Phyllis is currently under negotiations with numerous NBA teams. Although she was able to enjoy several museums and monuments during her first visit in the District, one thing Caitlin wasn't able to check off her list was landing a helicopter in Dupont Circle, Robert Langdon style. She does, however, want everyone to know that she doesn't always joke, but she did invent the internet. Respek.

Alysa Brooke Hand

Brooke is a Junior from Tuscaloosa, AL and is studying Biology and Religion. If she could be any character from a book, she would choose Hermione Granger, because she loves red heads and is highly intelligent. At home, she has a huskie named Balto and drinks REAL sweet tea...not like what they serve here in the Capital. Her favorite class at BSC has been Hebrew Bible with Dr. Cottrill, but if she could travel anywhere she would go to Europe..."anywhere in Europe." Brooke's favorite childhood memory is when she and her sister dressed her brother up as a barbie doll, and her favorite cereal to this day is the Scooby Doo brand. If she could rent any movie right now to reflect the mood she is currently in, it would be "Up." One thing the interim team has learned about Brooke is that when she is comfortable with people, she becomes very sarcastic. We are honored to say that we can appreciate this fully now.

Pooja Reddy
Pooja is a Biology major, Business minor with a focus on Krispy Kreme donuts. Her interests include indulging in Krispy Donuts, making sure others know the calories in Krispy Kreme Donuts, and leading discussion groups about Krispy Kreme donuts...specifically, the beauty of the original donut: glazed. Pooja is from Huntsville, AL, and her favorite Disney movie is "Aladdin." Here on our interim excursion, she is considered the thief of the group as she is accused of many mysterious disappearances including eye glasses and M&M bags. Helen appears to be the frequent target. Her favorite restaurant in D.C. is Bangkok Thai, and she enjoys asking for recipes. She also asked our hostess here in Knoxville (Beth) how she makes her rhubarb cake so delicious. Pooja was an excellent patron for the museums and monuments in D.C. However, when asked what person from history she would most like to get to know, she replied..."the founder of Krispy Kreme."

Charlsie Diana Wiggles Wigley

Charlsie Diana Wiggles Wigley comes from Anniston, AL, and is a Junior English major. Her favorite color to wear is red, as evidenced in some of the 30 hats in her "crazy" collection. On campus, she is in over seven organizations, giving her a chance to wear the many different hats. Haha.Charlsie's favorite thing about interim so far is working with team members and being awesome at "family", a classic service learning interim game. Her favorite thing to do as a kid was dance with her daddy, and she still holds this spirit by saying "when I grow up, I want to be a toys-r-us kid." Or a lawyer. You know, whatever. However, if she does make the big bucks, her number one vacation spot would be Central Park in New York City. When asked what book had a profound impact on her life, Charlsie replied The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Her equally serious answer to "what is the theme song for your life?" was "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix Alot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Claire Ward Hubbs
Claire Hubbs is a Junior Sociology/Psychology major, Art History minor and is from T-town, AL. Roll tide. When asked what her choice wallpaper would be, Claire responded, "Definitely Caitlin Barringer on her Crusin' Cooler." See Crusin' Cooler for the full effect. She was also asked to "fill in the blank: I am so much smarter than _______", and she responded "everyone." So, obviously, she's the genius of the Service Learning team. Which should be no surprise since she is the daughter of the esteemed BSC historian and archive collector, Dr. Guy Hubbs. Ghubbs. In addition to being supremely intelligent, Chubbs is also obsessed with technology, specifically her cellular device. She is currently running a picture text service to a select friend base..... A Picture A Day in the Life of Claire Hubbs: Washington DC Edition.

Katelyn Camile Taylor Eun Hancock
Katelyn Hancock is from Vestavia, AL, but Eric would claim her a Seoul sister. Katelyn is a Senior Art major, with a distinction in leading (also known as Leadership Studies). Her favorite medium of art is drawing. During the trip, we have come to find that Katelyn has a not-so-secret obsession with squirrels, in particular the black species. When asked what three musicians, writers, or artists would be joining her ideal dinner party, she responded Lady GaGa, , Frank Warren, and Amy Tan. Her commonly unknown hidden talent is piano, which she played for fifteen years. When asked what compliment she receives the most, Katelyn responded "I'm just really awesome...I don't know how to break that down."

Sarah Rose Parkinson
Sarah Rose is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and is a Sophomore Elementary Education major and Psychology minor with a concentration in auto-tune. She is also an expert in Sassy Girl. When asked what television shows she watches most, she pauses dramatically and responds, "I appreciate a wide variety of reality TV. Especially "Keeping up with the Kardashians'", as she is the missing Kardashian. If she could be on any game show, she would choose "Newlyweds" with Caitlin Barringer. They're not engaged, they just want a free trip to the Bahamas. When asked how well she sings in the shower on a scale from 1-10, her modest response was "13"...especially when she's being auto-tuned. Go shawty.

Virginia Ann Jordan

Virginia Ann Jordan (aka VA) hails from Centre, AL and is a Sophomore Political Science/Economics hybrid major and Spanish minor. On campus, VA is a member of the leadership studies program, saves lives as a lifeguard at the Striplin pool (not to be confused with the lake- you can't swim there!), and especially enjoys her time as a Resident Advisor in the freshmen girl's dorm Cullen Daniel. If she was a candy bar, she would be a chunky bar...because she's a little bit of everything; sweet and crunchy. In her spare time, VA can be found cooking, baking (ask for the apple love!), and reading. By the way, if you're looking for her appendix, you won't find it. But if you're looking for a helping hand or sweet smile- look for VA!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A WHITE SQUIRREL!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Team Member Spotlights! Take 2

Benjamin David Tracy

Ben is a junior Urban Environmental Studies major with a concentration in society and policy. He is going to change the branch at a time. In high school, he played basketball, baseball, track, roller hockey, basket weaving, and dabbled in amateur bouldering. He speaks French, Spanish, Yiddish, Pig Latin, Cantonese, and a dash of Persian. His childhood dreams of becoming a professional baseball player disappeared quickly when he realized that he just wasn't that good. No Sandy Kofax for this Jew. Did we mention he's Jewish? He's very proud. He is also currently dating celebrity blogger K Money. When asked how he handles the pressure of dating someone so famous, he responded...."Blogging is a profession?"

Michael Anthony Popwell

Also known as Popz Vegas 88, Mike is a Sophomore Accounting major. When he grows up, he wants to go to seminary at Duke, Emory, or Vanderbilt. Basically...the big leagues. Mike enjoys online poker and has developed quite the poker face. He loves everything Armenian (*wink wink*), but can be found in sketchy Thai restaurants in D.C. during the month of January. He prefers Backstreet Boys to Nsync, Elvis to the Beatles, Santa to the toothfairy, and will watch any movie starring Nicholas Cage. One day he hopes to discover the President's Book of Secrets and take your money in poker.

Katelin Marie Adams

A graduate of Alabama School of Math and Science, Katie Adams is a Sophomore Spanish major, English minor. She really loves languages. One of her favorite activities are online mad libs, followed by correcting people's grammar. When she's in a really bad mood, she will DuPunch you (copyright Caitlin Barringer). Her favorite dessert is plain cheesecake, and is accepting gift cards to Cheesecake Factory. When asked what's weird about her, she replied "my right arm doesn't straighten all the way." It's true.

Making brown bags at Food & Friends


With Robert Egger, founder of DC Central

Birmingham-Southern on the menu at DC Central

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Oprah wants your soul" -Robert Egger, founder of D.C. Central Kitchens

Day 9

We started the morning out on our usual route to the metro station, this time heading to Food and Friends. This organization works with people who have life-challenging illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, to create specialized diets to meet the individual needs of their clients. Food and Friends is able to provide nutritious meals for people who would not be able to prepare much for themselves otherwise. In some cases, family members are also included in the meal plans, whether it be small children or elderly parents of the client.

Our job that day was to fill around 250 bags with pantry items for several people and their family members. One of the cool things about working as a team is finding a "groove" in your group dynamic; we all worked together efficiently, even occasionally without words. This was also exciting because it was the first time when everyone had an individual job, but we were still working as a team, depending on each other to get the job done.

Charles, our friendly volunteer coordinator, was great at keeping the ball rolling and providing the wonderful music (we assessed that it was a "NOW 6" CD). The incredible cherry muffins we received after working were not that bad either. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.

Next, enter: DCCK- second shift of the day.

By this time, you are probably as familiar with DCCK as we are, so we won't bother explaining. This was our fifth time there, and we've continued to enjoy getting to know the staff( ex. Helen and Kait are now known as H-money and K-money, thanks to G-money). Five days doesn't seem like a big number, but we feel at home there now. It's also great to learn about the other people who come to volunteer, learning their stories and why they are there. We have met everyone from a Finnish World Bank employee to a couple celebrating their one year anniversary by doing service.

We completed our long, fulfilling day by splitting up into smaller groups to enjoy the different cuisines offered in D.C. These included Thai and Ethiopian dinners; we were appreciating the explosions of culture in D.C.

Day 10

Switch up! The group that went to Thrive D.C. last Friday went to Martha's Table this time and vice versa. This is the first time we had been able to develop expectations of an organization, because the other group had already had such distinctive experiences. Speaking of expectations, we followed up our service for the day with a White House tour. Because we know our readers appreciate organization, here is a list of our expectations:

-Katelyn Hancock wanted to sit in President Barack Obama's lap...and a gift shop
-Helen wanted to see the Obama bedroom
-Kait wanted to read every book in the library (26,000 on most every subject!)
-Ben wanted to see the parts of the White House in actual use ("Is that too much to ask?")
-Claire wanted to meet the family dog (Bo)
-Sarah P wanted to play dress up with Sasha and Malia
-VA's response was just...."Barack Obama". Is he real???

Even though these expectations were not met, we can all say that we have stepped into the White House. And America. Interpret as you will.

After we crossed the Arabian desert (aka walked from the White House to Union Station....thanks again, Kent), we ate lunch in the food court at the station. Then we headed over to DCCK to meet with Robert Egger (the founder!-Check out the picture!) to pick his brain about non-profits, know, the "usugh." We also got great advice such as the importance of appreciating your community, being aware of the needs and changes occurring around you, and, last but not least,...."Oprah wants your soul."

Back at the Pilgrimage, we had reflection that night and discussed in-depth our conversation with Robert Egger and what we believe makes for a good non-profit after our experiences here. It was fascinating to talk so much about an issue that people so seldom discuss in-depth; you often hear about people's thoughts on politics, football (in Alabama), science, and progress, but rarely can you talk so openly about homelessness. Considering that this is an issue which affects millions of people in our world daily, it's enthralling to hear all the different perspectives. Or even the extent of different perspectives on the causes, prevention, consequences, and solutions to homelessness.

Day 11

Team members went to Christian Group Community Homes again for Saturday. One of the CGCH's services is to reach out to the elderly who still live at home, along with those who live in provided housing. Yesterday, the team went to a home where the husband had been hoarding things for decades and had gotten to the point where the government was telling them to clean up, because the mess had become a fire hazard. It was surreal to see the living conditions that can come from holding on to everything. The team worked for about two hours and was able to clear away about 1/8 of the basement.

The rest of the day was dedicated to the Holocaust Museum. There is no way to articulate this experience, but considering what we have been learning about these past couple of weeks, it seemed appropriate. We had been discussing how we view each other-- especially those different from us-- and it was a good reminder of where prejudice can lead when we let ignorance and fear control us.

Day 12

Free day! Some slept in; some went to museums; but all reflected. We had written reflections and a great discussion before supper. By the way, props to the Bunting Center for allowing us to dine out one night as a group. Tonight's dinner was fantastic by all accounts.

We will leave you with a countdown:

-Approx. 4 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts consumed by team (so far). When you do the math it's not that bad...but we don't do math. Remember?
-20 miles walked in one day (from White House to Union Station).
-1 mouse spotted in the Pilgrimage
-1 mouse still at large in the Pilgrimage
-4 team members were "Disney Characterized". (If you were wondering, Sarah Parkinson is the baby cat from "Aristocats", Ben Tracy is Pongo from "101 Dalmatians", Caitlin Barringer is Baloo from the Jungle Book, Sara Doughton is the mama cat from "Aristocats")

We will keep you updated.

Love from the Pilgrimage,

H Money and K Money

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Team Member Spotlight #1

Kelly Michelle Gronemeyer hails from Muscle Shoals, Alabama and is a Senior Biology major at Birmingham-Southern College. At one point, she owned 17 pets including dogs, cats, a snake, and a love bird. She is currently terrified of falling onto the metro tracks, but this summer, while in Costa Rica, she found herself afraid of getting crushed by falling trees. Basically, she adapts to her environment. Kelly's favorite toe nail polish color is purple, which is also the color of all her winter clothing, so we have seen it a lot. Kelly would like to thank the United Union of Bloggers, Sasha Obama, and North Face for making lots of purple winter clothing.

"Kent is an animal, Sara is a boss"

Before we address the day's events, we would like to take a moment to explain our extremely clever title so as not to leave anyone in the dark. We realize that some of what we say is clearly only relevant to team members, and as funny as we are, we want our beloved readers to be in the loop. Therefore...explanation.

So, Kent is an animal. This is a truth because today at DCCK (DC Central Kitchens) he displayed beast-like abilities to open and sort burritos. Therefore, Ben claimed "Kent is an animal" during a specifically insightful moment in reflection tonight. And Sara is a "boss", because apparently she just "stands around", according to our friend Eric. This is not a truth, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Another aspect of our ever-changing blog life is the addition of a TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT (idea copyright: Sarah Rose Parkinson..also known as "Lil Mama"). We figure the best way to do this is to start with our Senior Project Officer...Kelly Gronemeyer. Please check the following blog post for this beautifully composed mini-biography.

Day 7

We started the day at somewhere you may have heard of, DC Central Kitchens. This was our third time to work there, and we've really gotten accustomed to the employees and the work expected of us. Because of the overwhelming adoration we have of these people, it's only appropriate to include you, the reader, in their awesomeness (that's a word). First, we have Chef Dorothy (known as Dot by most) in charge of veggies and salads. Chef Dot graduated from one of the first training programs at DCCK. Helen, Mike, Brooke, Kelly, Caitlin, Katie and Sarah worked on a Waldorf Salad under Dot's sharp eye. Sara, Charlsie, Katelyn and Kait fell in love with Ernesto while Kent just worked with him. Ernesto was consistently calm and supportive in the kitchen, traits greatly appreciated in a sometimes hectic atmosphere (note: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen).

Our second shift of the day was at Capital Area Food Bank, which is exactly what it sounds like. We had a very informative orientation and spent the next three hours sorting food donated by local supermarkets and the like for three hours. We experienced a very small part of the organization as a whole. CAFB has several programs that concentrate on nutrition, from an urban youth garden to programs that educate and train people on the importance of eating heathily. On a side note, we were entertained to find while sorting an eclectic assortment of items. Let's just say, next time you're cleaning out your pantry, nobody your expired German chocolate with apricot filling.

One part of living at the Pilgrimage is sharing the space with other groups who are also particpating in similar service opportunites. A group from Virginia Tech came last Friday and is staying until this Friday. So last night, team Apple Sauce from BSC and team Hokie from Tech joined forces to create a masterpiece known as "Brinner" or Breakfast for Dinner. It was an epically delicious meal.

Day 8

Today! Headed to DCCK again. Sara and Kait vied for Ernesto's attention which was given sparingly with a classic fist pound. Chef Dot's group groveled for her approval which was also given with similar rarity. After another delicious lunch provided by DCCK, we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Groups split up to see the Library of Congress, a couple of the Smithsonian museums among other things.

Needless to say, all of the work has been catching up with the team and sleep is a wonderful luxury. We just learned that the blog is a bedtime lullaby for some of the team (and perhaps you too), so we'll try to stay consistent. For now, good night!

Sleep tight,
K and H

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010

Sara, Kait, Kent and Charlsie with Mike and Ernesto at DC Central

Kait & Charlsie sort through tomatoes.

Claire & Ben & more tomatoes.

Sara & Kent prepare the "four cheese tortillini with chicken."

Sarah Rose, Kelly, Helen, Katie, Mike, & Brooke on celery duty

Monday, January 11, 2010

SOME - So Others Might Eat

"Where's My Tip At?"...Day 6

Hello loyal readers! Helen and I have decided that since our fan base has grown so rapidly, we need to be more organized and supply some statistics and percentages (you know...math) to properly illustrate our time here. But we will keep it in simple terms you can other are reading a blog written by us: a Music and an English major.

First of all, we officially left our first member behind at the metro. Let's just say that Pooja did not want to stay at the Metro Center fifteen extra minutes after getting her leg stuck in the door. But snaps for your commitment, Pooja! So, now we have...

0 days since man left behind (or woman)
0 days since we abstained from Starbucks...twice in one day
1 day since black squirrel sighting
2 days since someone has shouted "ROLL TIDE!" in random conversation....wait, make that 0
30 seconds since someone has commented on how AWESOME our blog is

Now, let's talk some service.

Today was unusual in the sense that we spent the majority of our day at one place. We woke up exceptionally early (5:30am for the late sleepers) in order to arrive at SOME (So Others May Eat) in time to prepare breakfast. Even though we only observed the kitchen aspect, SOME offers many other programs to serve the local homeless such as life skills and amenities for showers. This is the first time the entire team worked on the serving side as opposed to working in the kitchen. Our duties were to serve breakfast, help clean the dining room for the lunch shift, and then eventually serve lunch. The team enjoyed participating in an organization's entire day, as opposed to the three hour shifts we have been accustomed to. In general, one of our favorite parts of service in D.C. so far has been the people we have worked with, and SOME was a great example of this contagious positive energy. One of our supervisors, Michelle, had nicknames for everyone by the end of the day and even taught VA the cupid shuffle during a break between shifts. Kent was known as "Clark Kent", and Ben was deemed "Dick Tracy". When asked if he'd like any sugar, one man told Kait he would very much like "two...and one on the jaw." Good day.

After one of our many ritual Starbucks stops (and no, we are not receiving compensation for the overload of advertising..but we're open for discussion), we headed over to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This was our first chance to sit down and discuss policy and advocacy with one of the leading national non-profit, non-partisan organizations dealing with the fight against homelessness. What is especially interesting about many organizations across the board is the new push for prevention of homelessness, as opposed to the "management" of it. The National Alliance is promoting the more recently acknowledged concept of first dealing with permanent housing and then addressing recovery from issues such as substance abuse and unemployment. They and many other important advocacy agencies have found this method effective, and in turn, one of their top priorities is to spread awareness about this topic. We even discussed current policy such as the bills concerning homeless veteran affairs and housing options. Of course, the organization articulates it best, here is a link:

We really encourage our many readers to study this topic. If we can leave you with one over-arching thought that we learned today, it would be this: while we often link "serving the homeless" to soup kitchens and handing out our change when asked, policy is a very important part of preventing homelessness that the general public is not always aware of.

So as Caitlin Barringer would say, "this is gold...let's go digging."

From the "Real Women of Alabama" (in D.C.) Mike, Kent, and Ben. Til next time,

Your favorite bloggers

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kait Talley. Proof. :)

Days 4 and 5: Betty Sue and the Pantless Party taking over Washington

Day 4

Saturday began with an early morning rise and a return visit to D.C. Central Kitchens. We once again donned our aprons and hairnets for proper food prep style. When Claire Hubbs voiced a sincere "lookin' nice there, Ben Tracy!", he responded "...Just call me Betty Sue." And our next blog entry was titled.

We spent our time cooking lunch. Our own Caitlin Barringer helped with the menu for the day and reflects, "there were like twenty places the food was going." The spaghetti team can vouch for this as we filled 8+2+7+16+9+32 trays of pasta, sauce, and cheese. The chef thought it was easier to give us instructions this way instead of just giving us one solid number...we're still confused. But we luckily passed the time by channeling our inner Julia Child, which resulted in several falsetto voices floating throughout the kitchen exclaiming, "all you need is BUTTER!" Another team worked on salad, chopping tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. Next, they achieved a successful assembly line. On the other side of the kitchen, Ben, VA, and Brooke chopped meat, while Mike ran around the kitchen getting locked in the freezer. Maybe he was looking for another hamsicle.

A little before one, we finished our tasks at DC Central Kitchens and had the rest of the day off. Most everyone went to different places for lunch. After everyone enjoyed a pleasant day of being tourists, we all reconvened for a scrumptious supper of spaghetti. Next, was Capitol Steps! Since we cannot possibly capture the comedic brilliance and political satirical insightfulness through simple English, we will attempt to recapture the essence of the act "Lirty Dies." See if you can keep up...

Thanks to Parah Sarkinson thor fis wonderful idea. This grilarious hroup of players fade mun of pamous feople like Wiger Toods, Bo Jiden, Pansy Nelousi, wlong aith others.

Okay we're done...that was harder than we thought.

Day 5

Today was a free day and we grouped off to take advantage of this in several ways. Kelly, Claire, Brooke, Helen and Sarah went to Mount Vernon to experience the beautiful setting of George Washington's Virginian homestead. Kait, VA, Pooja, Katelyn, Charlsie, Mike, Ben and Katie ventured to the Dupont Farmer's Market that features local organic vegetables, fruits, meats, among other things. Later, they went to the newly renovated National Museum of American History (recently voted best Museum in D.C.). All in all, the team enjoyed the slower pace and is now looking forward to getting back in service-learning swing.

On another note, we have a couple very important newsflashes.
BLACK SQUIRREL UPDATE- VA sited and Katie documented this epic event. NBC has already requested an interview.

We present to you Op Ed:
Forget if you're in the party of the red or fact, forget your pants too
The Pantless in D.C. take over
by Kait Talley

You know those days when you just don't want to wear pants? Sure, it's freezing outside, but it would obviously just be more fun to "forget" your pants as you ride the public transportation in one of the busiest cities in the world. In fact, wear some clever underwear to make up for it. And only do this on the metro.

As one comment read on an article about this "pantless takeover" in D.C. in 2008, "these people just want attention". And attention is exactly what they got. ...From the three year olds. While most of the adults using the metro chose to simply ignore the pantless, the kids were fascinated. During this writer's stimulating time on the metro today, if one had the audacity to ask "...where'd your pants go?" These committed, brave pantless soldiers will answer, "oh, I just forgot them." In 20 degree weather? I doubt that.

The interesting part (besides the people who wore underwear sporting demands such as "hands off!") is that there really is no purpose. The official facebook group contends, "The best part about this mission is the reaction of people hearing that someone could casually "forget" their pants or not be greatly bothered by their disappearance." Metro users who were wearing pants also noticed an increased number of photographers in the metro stations trying to record this historical event. Most were actually focusing their pictures on the underwear for a more artistic perspective. When asked why she did not take advantage of this prestigious opportunity, BSC Service-Learning Interim Photographer Katelyn Hancock responded, "I like to work more with landscapes. I'm not really into close-up portraits." But maybe next time.

What did D.C. learn from this event? Absolutely nothing. Except maybe the importance of staying clothed in cold weather. However, the situation has left this writer wondering..."what lengths will people go to in order to get attention?" I must point out that since you will be documented participating in this event, getting a respectable job in the future might prove slightly difficult. How do you explain to your boss that sometimes you just "forget" your pants. Definitely unprofessional. What's next? PETA hanging posters all over D.C. of celebrities who don't wear fur without the said celebrity's permission? ...Oh wait, that already happened.

To find more information about this subject, you can watch the youtube video of last year's don'twearpantsfornoreasonwhatsoever day. Who knows? Maybe this will happen in your hometown. ...But let's hope not.

-Kait Talley
Co-Chronicler of BSC Service Learning Interim in D.C. 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010


Chopping duty.

One group at Thrive D.C.


The Real Real World

Due to the game last night, our Bama fan base here at camp Pilgrimage did not make it back until past their bedtime, therefore blogging did not ensue (Can we get a ROLLLLL TIIIIDEEE?!?!??!). No worries, we will make up for it.

Day 2.
We started the morning off easy, sleeping in (Katelyn H. made a record, snoozing til noon. She's even sleeping now) while our early birds took a walk. Sarah P. joyously located the D.C. (actual) "Real World" house along with her ideal future employment at P Street Preschool. Also on the walk, the team members spotted various embassies, and Kait found Gandhi at the Indian Embassy.

Our first official event for the day was lunch and we enjoyed a delicious Eggplant Pasta, thanks to Sara D and her team. After lunch, we gathered for a discussion about our Enneagram results, a personality test of sorts. (if you're interested, the sample test can be found at Very insightful. It was interesting to see whether people agreed or disagreed with the type that the test identified them as, and we learned a lot about our own group dynamic as well.

After we used an internet test to find ourselves, we ventured off to our first service experience at D.C. Central Kitchens. We had a great orientation where we learned about the organization's mission. DCCK provides meals to several agencies dealing with the homeless in the D.C. area. They also have a catering business. Along with their efforts to provide food, they also provide "empowerment" programs; one being the Culinary Job Training where people learn skills that will enable them to enter the food industry. We spent our time preparing food, cooking black eyed peas, peeling and slicing potatoes, dicing peppers and coring apples, among other tasks. All in all, very glamorous. Especially the hairnets. We worked to a Michael Jackson marathon playing overhead, so everyone was happy. Wrapping up the evening shift around 8pm, the Bama fans in the group instantly began a frantic search for a place to watch the Championship (sadly, our rabbit-earred TV at the Pilgrimage couldn't quite cut it). We actually ran up the second longest escalator in the Western Hemisphere located at the Dupont Circle station, and it was obviously completely worth it.
In short: long escalator (5 minutes), three restaurants (15 minutes), requesting managers of said restaurants to please change their stations to the National Championship on ABC (35 seconds)...watching the Alabama Crimson Tide win the National Championship for the first time in about twenty years....PRICELESS.
It took three restaurants to find enough seating for eight (five for Bama, one for Texas and two along for the ride) and a TV that was playing the game. Again...totally worth it.

Day 3: Back to Service
Today started bright and early. We split up into two groups, one heading to D.C. Thrive and the other to Martha's Table. D.C. Thrive is an organization that makes and serves meals for the homeless and needy of the area. The group there helped prepare and serve breakfast for the day and prepared for other meals as well. Martha's Table provides food for several agencies, like DCCK, as well as furnishing a certified private Daycare that services everyone from infants to teenagers; educating them in nutrition, arts and crafts, academics, fitness, among other things. The group there helped with food preparation for McKenna's Wagon, a program that takes meals to the streets by van-- most likely one of the more well-known programs which Martha's Table performs.

After the groups finished up, we alternately ate quick sack lunches (some of which ended up living in the freezer for awhile...let's just say that Mike had a delicious Hamsicle for luncheon. He doesn't want to talk about it.) Lunch led to more service at Christian Community Group Homes. This organization deals more with housing than the other organizations mentioned and offers care and attention to the needs of the local elderly. The employees do everything from picking up prescriptions to cleaning drapes; no task left undone. The first group focused on one house, while the second stayed at the headquarters that houses eight elderly people and serves as the administrative center. Both groups enjoyed the direct interaction while also being put to good use as house cleaners.
Exhausted and reflective from the day's experiences, our team met back up at the Pilgrimage and fixed supper. After a quick and yummy meal of tacos, we heard from a speaker panel representing the National Coalition for the Homeless. Two of the speakers had experienced homelessness and offered very personal and moving thoughts on this subject which they felt obviously passionate about. This discussion was very stimulating for our team reflection which occured later.
The reflection consisted of each team member voicing their initial observations of D.C. and our service-learning experiences. These observations ranged from the stereotypes we previously held of homelessness, followed by a discussion of the noteworthy communal atmosphere of the various organizations we worked with.
After our first full day of service in D.C., we are looking forward to the rest of our time here. For now, however, rest is essential to our journey.
Thank you to all of our followers! Until next time...
K and H

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

To Target.

"Hey, there's something on your forehead."

The Real World: The Pilgrimage

Day One.

Well, we made it! The flight went very smoothly (everyone slept), and we enjoyed our 45 minute shuttle ride from the Baltimore Airport to our humble and welcoming abode at the Pilgrimage. Matt, the Pilgrimage Manager (he is not yet aware of our plans to make this a "real world" season), introduced us to the Pilgrimage and all of its wonders. We're staying in the basement of the Church of the Pilgrims here in DuPont-- also known (thanks to Caitlin Barringer) as DuPUNCH. We have a spacious great hall, complete with couches and a rabbit-earred TV. We did, of course, ask if it is suitable for National Championship viewing, but Northerners don't seem to speak our obnoxious Southern-football language. But don't stress...we'll figure it out.

Along with the spacious kitchen, the boys and girls are separated into two rooms, complete with at least fifty sets of bunk beds (maybe an exaggeration...but we're the Chroniclers; we don't crunch the numbers). Our summer camp experience is complete. The Pilgrimage also features a laundry and bathroom/shower facility, making for what is sure to be an extremely comfortable and enjoyable stay. After our short orientation, we bravely ventured out into the District of Columbia for the first time to find some lunch. The variety included: pizza, bagels, falafel (VA was really excited about it) and yogurt from the plethora of options merely a few blocks away. We still can't pronounce Gyros...but we're working on that, too.

After marathon naps, we convened to decide on supper/shopping plans. The group responsible for dinner tonight headed off to buy some delectable food items to last the week. Another group, led by Ben Tracy, who took them on a scenic route, finally reached the TARGET destination after a whopping 45 minutes. Although Sarah P had several imaginary encounters with black squirrels on the way back from the grocery store, Helen Marchman actually spotted one, but unfortunately did not have the time to snap a photo for evidence. But again...don't worry. We've got it covered.

After a delicious dinner thanks to Team A (name to come!) and superb clean up job performed by Team B ( to come), we played a rowdy round of Loaded Questions. We can sum up two hours of game play by saying that we learned A LOT about each other. For instance, we discovered that Kelly has a terrible fear of the gum disease gingivitis (not to be confused with Gingervitus-- having two red heads in the group, we are of course susceptible).

Now the day has begun to catch up with us, and we are ready to get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is relatively laid back. In the late afternoon, we will be at DC Central Kitchens for a short orientation and work until 8. Of course this will be eagerly followed by the BCS National Championship. Prayers are appreciated for a working TV. Can we get a ROLL TIDE?! (from Kait). Helen gives a timid "hook 'em horns"...

Until Next Time,

Your First Time Bloggers ('d we do?!?!)
Kait and Helen

p.s.- Don't forget to look at the photos added by our fantastic photographer Katelyn C. Hancock

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Advocacy and Service in DC: Bridging the Gap Between Promise and Reality

A service-learning immersion project in Washington, DC, that examines homelessness, poverty, and community response-ability. As a team, students and faculty work in outreach and support agencies in Washington, and attend presentations from non-profits that address public policy on working families and the poor. These agencies include DC Central Kitchen, Thrive DC, So Others Might Eat, Martha’s Table, the National Alliance for the Homeless and the National Coalition of the Homeless. The team will process their observations and experiences in group reflection. This project includes pre-departure meetings in the fall term in which we develop skills in effective communication and group reflection, and research and discuss topics relevant to our January work.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Interim Blog Set-up

The BSC Interim Blog was set up on January 4, 2010.