Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
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.
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.
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
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Ben is a junior Urban Environmental Studies major with a concentration in society and policy. He is going to change the world...one 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?"
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.
Friday, January 15, 2010
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.
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 that...is 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, advocacy...you 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
K and H
Tuesday, 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
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: http://www.endhomelessness.org/section/policy/legislature.
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.)...plus Mike, Kent, and Ben. Til next time,
Your favorite bloggers
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
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 (again...name 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 (..how'd we do?!?!)
Kait and Helen
p.s.- Don't forget to look at the photos added by our fantastic photographer Katelyn C. Hancock