Serve Well Blog

December 2013 Entries

12.21.13

BRIDGE THE GAP House Party
September 15th

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press

BRIDGE THE GAP House Party | September 15th

TIME 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

LOCATION Home of Ginger and Tim Franey Click here for map!  

DESCRIPTION 

What: Come and meet young leaders who have served a year or more as a volunteer tackling some of the most pressing local and global issues facing our communities. Hear their visions of service and leadership that make global citizenship a life-long pursuit!

Celebrate the accomplishments and all that is ahead for the Krista Foundation community. July through September our annual Bridge the Gap Campaign helps meet our budget goals! This year we'll wrap up the year with a house-party fundraiser at the Franey's new home overlooking Puget Sound. (Who can say no to that!?)

Featuring a complimentary wine tasting with social enterprise Sozo Wine, festive non- alcoholic drinks & savory appetizers! All are welcome.

Please RSVP at val@kristafoundation.org or call 206-382-7888 

12.20.13

Heating Up Compost
by Anne Basye - Krista Foundation

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press

LIKE composting food and garden scraps, reflecting on and processing a service experience can take a long, long time-and create powerful results. To the January debriefing retreat, 2011 Krista Colleague Lindie Burgess brought two years of rich composting materials she had collected through her service at St. André Bessette Catholic Church in downtown Portland, where she fully embraced her task to "create an environment of radical welcome" for homeless community members experiencing poverty and isolation.

The article "Service Compost" by 2003 Krista Colleague Sarah Wanless Zwickle, explored on the first day of the retreat, helped "action-oriented" Lindie use the composting metaphor to see the value of "sitting on some of my experiences" instead of expecting instant insights. "In my two years downtown I experienced community at its absolute best and its absolute worst," she says. "How do I dig through the really harmful memories in order to live in a way that honors that my journey has been both richly painful and full of joy?" 

During the retreat, Lindie and other participants were invited to put both positive and painful memories on the compost pile and let them decompose a bit. "The compost pile looks like it is dormant, but lots of activities are taking place," she says.

In the safety of the Krista Foundation community, where right answers are not required and wrestling is encouraged, "I could share the frustrations, joys and celebrations of service and lay those stories faithfully down," Lindie says. "For me, an important part of the ongoing work of processing is discovering a love and trust for God. I am still learning to be in community with God and it was important to be with others who are articulating some of the tensions I feel towards religion and the idea of God that I inherited from my very human teachers." 

Lindie is now Program Manager for the Moreau Center for Service and Leadership at her alma mater, the University of Portland. As her compost pile cooks, she is "paying it forward" by mentoring students as they learn from their own service experiences in the Portland community. "Turning things over in a facilitated manner with community input, I can leave behind some of the things I don't have to carry anymore, and end up with richer soil."

12.18.13

Discernment as a Community Effort
2011 Krista Colleague Meaghan Driscoll

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press

 

Meaghan Driscoll became a Krista Colleague in 2011 at the moment she realized her plan to become a lawyer was missing a vital step. She wanted to advocate for the poor, but she couldn't advocate for people she didn't know! Working side by side with marginalized women and children at St. Margaret's Shelter in Spokane, she came to see life and the legal system through their eyes. Today the second-year student and Thomas More Scholar at Gonzaga University School of Law is discerning her next step in her field of public interest law.

When her peers focus on career mobility, they aren't always exploring "'what type of person do I want to be?'" she says. Meaghan approaches her future by asking herself deeper questions about her vision and values. "I see discernment as a community effort," she says. "I make a point of talking to people with different backgrounds and who I assume would have different insights. I also try to pay attention to what's going on with me emotionally and how I'm responding to what they are saying." Spending time with Krista colleagues and other former volunteers who share her service-motivated perspective is also helpful. Recently, after an organic process of reflecting on everyone's input and her own principles and feelings, she decided not to pursue an available opportunity.

"Being nurtured to think broadly, to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and consider the perspective of disenfranchised people completely changes how you view a legal case," she says. "Knowing ‘the other' changes how you look at things." Meaghan's next big challenge is to resolve her tension between wanting to tackle systemic change by focusing on policy, or trying to create change from the ground up by working with clients in a legal practice. "I get joy out of working with people," she says. "I wish I could do both!

 

12.18.13

Discernment in the Thin Places
2006 Krista Colleague Megan Hurley Menard

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press

As a volunteer case manager at Central City Concern in Portland, Megan Hurley Menard (who became a Krista Colleague in 2006) worked with homeless clients with acute medical needs who had recently been discharged from the hospital. But as a case manager, she was often viewed with suspicion.

One day, she watched a visiting public health nurse tend to a client whose deeply tangled health and addiction issues included a stomach ulcer. As the nurse unwrapped the wound, Megan was struck by the nurse's competence, compassion, and the trusting relationship between nurse and patient. "I realized that I had been working with the woman on all of her issues except this one. Until her physical wound could heal, the rest of her wounds would not solve out," she remembers.

A Krista Foundation grant enabled her to continue exploring her interest in health and homelessness at the Housing First Conference in Washington, D.C. Discernment skills presented at the KF debrief retreat and service leadership conference helped confirm her direction, and a year later she entered nursing school, focusing on care for women and babies. As a nurse, she thought, she could develop long-term relationships that help people think about immediate health needs as well as questions that affect their ability to look ahead. "When you are in pain, you can't think about the future."

After serving in a medical-surgical ward, a nursing home, a farmworker clinic, and a public health program focused on refugees, Megan Menard, R.N. and new mother of a 6-month-old girl, now encourages and empowers new moms in the Mother-Baby Unit at Spokane's Deaconess Hospital.

"Central City Concern's Recuperation Care program gave me a sense that there are thinner places when we are ready to change," she says. "In a hospital, you can see where your life has been and get some ideas on where you want to go. At Deaconess, I meet people at a very powerful time, when a new family member has arrived. I love helping new moms get a sense of their competence and power, work with their own intuition, and get breast feeding started."

12.17.13

"I Am a Dream Broker"
2004 Krista Colleague Sergio Castaneda

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Krista Foundation Press

 

"I'm like a dream broker for boys exiting juvenile detention," says Sergio Castaneda '04. As a Krista colleague, he nurtured young leaders at Harambee Ministries in Pasadena, California. Now a husband and father and based in Pasco, Washington, he serves as an Educational Advocate in Benton and Franklin Counties. "I assist young men in transitioning out of jail, refer them to resources, and mentor them," he explains. "As long as their dreams and aspirations are healthy and will benefit themselves and their family, I am all for supporting them, removing whatever barrier is in front of them, and helping them move to the next level."

Mentoring young men from challenging backgrounds, with no fathers or father figures, some at risk for deportation "is about being there at the right time and asking the right questions," he says. "I don't want to overpower them with my ideas and what I think they should be doing. I want to help them realize they are whole, even though they've gone through hell, and it is up to them to make good choices to get themselves to where they need to be."

The son of immigrant farm workers who lived in Pasco and many other places, Sergio recently completed his BA in social work from Heritage University. He often wrestles with how to draw from his own experiences to empower the Latino community. "First-generation immigrants suffer the most, but as generations come along we are supposed to get better and better. At the same time, how do we keep our culture, as opposed to being assimilated...?" One challenge is Sergio's own immigration case. "Although I have a work permit and a Social Security number I have no legal status and have been fighting deportation for the last 7 years," he says. "My path is service."

Sergio summed it up, warmly, "I am trying to live my life out in a way that honors what God has done in my life."

 

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