Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Urban America'

7.26.17

Welcome 2017 Krista Colleagues

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America

 

 

We are excited to welcome the 2017 Krista Colleague Cohort! Read more about each Colleague and their area of service here.

7.26.17

A Decade Later: Your Whole Self Comes Home

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Arts & Culture, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

How to interpret "holding together" through worship and music at the 2017 conference? Maren Haynes Marchesini '07 chose the three-part song "Standing Stone". Chanting together I will be your standing stone/I will stand by you powerfully embodied differences held as a whole.
 
The PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology is exploring holding together in her home state of Montana, where she and husband Michael '07 moved after years away. "You don't really go home again," she says. "You bring your whole self and all your experiences when you move back, and see everything differently." Drawing on what she learned about immigrant justice at the worker-run Day Labor Center in Tucson, her training in multicultural music, and her time as a church music director, she looks at Helena through the lens of race, class, gender, and community. Talking with neighbors and relatives, "I am opening up that part of myself that recognizes that we have a lot of values in common, in spite of starting on different sides."
 
As one of Helena's only ethnomusicologists, she has been enthusiastically invited to share her gifts in the symphony, schools, and college, and will relaunch the city's Children's Chorus in partnership with a local arts organization. She hopes the chorus will nurture kids' curiosity for music, people, and traditions from around the world. "In a place as culturally white as Montana, that would be a huge thing."

 

4.26.17

Holding Life and Death Together

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Urban America, Healthcare, Post-Service Term Reflections, Sustaining Service

 


 

Facing death everyday while working in hospice for a year took Bridget Hinton ‘14 "to a deep place of mystery," she says. "Living day in and day out with sadness was a challenge but I also saw a lot of hope and love."

For the spiritual care office of Providence Memorial Hospital in Hood River, Oregon, the Jesuit volunteer would visit people receiving palliative care, drive them to appointments, run errands, do a little housekeeping, and often just sit and listen.

In the deepest, darkest moments, when she wasn't at all sure what to say, "I tried to put myself out of own comfort zone and just hold space, be comfortable with slowness and silence, even when I didn't know exactly how to relate to someone three generations beyond me."

Ongoing cross-cultural training with the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship that includes recognizing the significance of generational, socio-economic, geographic and cultural nuances helped Bridget in these moments. Recognizing how her urban, diverse upbringing had shaped her lens helped her have empathy for the circumstances of her patients and listen without making assumptions, even when some of what she heard offended her.

She came to see that phrases like "they are here to take our jobs" reflected the frustrations of the rural and economically challenged Columbia Gorge community. "I would never use the words ‘I disagree' but sometimes I would push back slightly," she says. "I had to engage in conversation, but I tried not to prove anything. That was the art of the work, to not prove anything."

Now an Education Program assistant for Oregon State University extension, she teaches cooking classes and gives presentations on nutrition to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients. She also is volunteer facilitator for a grief group of teens who have lost loved ones.

"The winter Debriefing Weekend affirmed my choice to take a break and take care of myself, but I still feel a calling to hospice social work," she says.

"I wanted a full-force hospice experience and that's what I got. Through the debriefing weekend, I could deeply pay attention to my service and admit that they were really hard years," she says. "I was yearning to reflect, and now I am yearning for service. That's when I lean into the Krista community, which says yes to applying service to life in every possible way."

1.25.17

Meet Mitchell Dorn- Krista Colleague

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Urban America, Women's Empowerment, Post-Service Term Reflections

 

 

What is a Krista Colleague? Meet one of our Krista Colleagues, Mitchell Dorn, who is exploring service-shaped implications in his life and vocation in Tacoma. Mitchell recognizes the necessity of being present within his community and emphasizes the Krista Foundation value of staying for tea (emphasizing relationship bulding).From Uber driver to events manager, into the non-profit world and out again-Mitchell Dorn's service journey has taken some interesting turns.

Participating in the life and ministry of Urban Grace Church through AmeriCorps, he plunged into the rich diversity of downtown Tacoma-and gradually realized that his strengths might lie in the for-profit world. Now he is growing a new business as Events Manager for the recently renovated Courthouse Square.

"I love my job and what I do, and I believe I am part of a bigger project that is making a difference downtown," he said. "Using my talents to their fullest capacity, having ideas, taking risks, watching them take off, and employing others is rewarding."

During the 2016 Krista Foundation Debriefing and Discernment Retreat, offered to Krista Colleagues after their service-year, Mitchell reflected with other Colleagues from different cultures and callings on how his new role impacts the community. One of the questions he explored concerned gentrification. What should he do as a white man living in a predominately African-American neighborhood where rents are rising and many people are displaced as downtown Tacoma revives? He is taking to heart their response: don't infiltrate the community. Be a part of it.

"Being part of a diverse group talking about serious issues, not afraid to step on each other's toes" is a gift of the gathered Krista Colleague community. "Understanding diversity and my world view are things I think about daily now, more than I ever did in AmeriCorps," he says. "I want to be a positive impact on my city."

Nominate a Krista Colleague today!

8.12.16

A Decade Later: Skills for the Classroom

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Education, Intercultural Development, Education, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

Lisa Villano 2016Sharing life alongside people with and without developmental disabilities at L'Arche Tahoma Hope Home in Tacoma inspired Lisa Villano '06 to embrace a career in special education.

"It can be easy to under-recognize the significance of cultural differences in the classroom," she shared at the recent Krista Foundation conference. To better understand and support her Native Alaskan students in Fairbanks, Alaska- and to avoid misinterpreting their behaviors- Lisa works hard to understand her own culture and perspective.

"For example, I instinctively expect a student to make eye contact. To me, it shows respect. But in many Native Alaskan cultures, to show respect a child should look away. If I don't know my own cultural tendencies and am not open to other perspectives, I disempower my student." By supporting her students' strengths and needs and equipping them with tools they need to navigate the world, she hopes her students will get the high quality of life that they- and all kids- deserve. 

8.12.16

Our Shared Experience: Spencer Uemura '16

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Advocacy, Homeless Advocacy, Community

2016 Colleague Spencer UemuraMoving to Omak, Washington to serve as case manager at a shelter for people experiencing homelessness and mental illness, Jesuit volunteer Spencer Uemura '16 got an earful of "us/them" thinking. Well-intended friends warned him to be careful of this unpredictable, sometimes scary population.

Listening to backstories of trauma, abuse, and neglect at Shove House was humbling. When an 88-year-old priest told Spencer that under similar circumstances, he too might turn to alcohol and drugs, new viewpoints and a new story began simmering. 

Previously, Spencer thought of himself as serving on the margins. "But that notion comes from the perspective of someone who thinks they understand where the center of society is," he says. Now he recognizes that while everyone has difficulties, "there is so much joy in our shared experience." As he moves toward a career in social work, he continues learning "to have an open mind and to first approach people with a mindset of love and understanding, rather than having my judgments at the forefront." 

6.29.16

Welcome 2016 Krista Colleagues

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Preparing To Serve

We are excited to welcome the 2016 Krista Colleague Cohort! Read more about each Colleague and their area of service here.

1.6.16

Nominate a Krista Colleague today

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America

Nominate a Krista Colleague Today

Follow this link to learn more about the Krista Colleague program and criteria. 

7.29.15

Relationships that Matter

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Urban America, Preparing To Serve, Community

On his way to becoming an architect, University of Tennessee graduate Richard Murray is learning more about the people he hopes to serve. As Community Engagement Coordinator for Friends of the Children – Seattle through the Quaker service program QuEST, he arranges training and workshops that equip mentors to be a caring, consistent, long-term adult presence for vulnerable children.

Witnessing the impact of these sustained relationships has increased Richard’s regard for mentors and the Krista Foundation program’s multi-year peer mentoring program. “I am excited that there is another organization wanting to make a long-term commitment to help young adults. I really appreciate how faith is integrated into the [Krista Colleague] program itself. I’m in that process now, trying to understand how faith plays a role in my life.”  As he journeys with the Krista Foundation, Richard will be discerning how his architecture practice can serve low-income communities, perhaps by building spaces using a collaborative, community-based approach.

3.18.15

Where I'm From

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Post-Service Term Reflections, Transitions Home & Beyond

Before we can know where we are going, we need to recognize where we are from. At the Debriefing and Discernment Retreats, Krista Foundation Colleagues were invited to claim their roots and their present as they wrote poems prompted by the question, Where am I from?

Michael Davis, Justin Willis, Madie Padon, and Claire Smith share their responses here.

 

 Where I'm From
Mike Davis

I’m from…

The long lines of government assistance,

From the same line that formed my existence.

The lines that separated me from you,

The lines that labeled me as colored because you couldn’t accept my hue, truth.

I’m from…

Black mothers that take upon the roles of black fathers,

Fathers that were forced to forsake their own and encouraged not to bother,

Leaving my momma to teach me to tie my tie and fold down my collar,

I’m from…

How come YOU get to and I can’t,

From songs I didn’t like but was forced to dance,

From, if another cop looks at me that way I’ma…

From, never mind, I’ll just avoid that drama.

I’m from…

You’ll never go there, because where I’m from is nowhere,

Listen, I don’t think you understood me…

I’m from nowhere, no where you’re from

Or forsake the history from whence you come,

You wanna know where I’m from?

I come from long lines from which my history was hung

I come from the reminder of the history in which you shun.

Mike Davis

 

Formerly director of the Leadership and Mentoring Program for Urban Impact in Seattle, Mike Davis ‘12 is now a drop-in coordinator for the Union Gospel Mission's Youth Center.

 

 
Where I'm From
Madie Padon

I am from the beginning of the Nile with endless tilapia to dust filled roads where an oncoming truck meant you have to hold your breath for the next 2 minutes as it passed by.


I am from sneaky, shadow seeking geckos that I said goodnight to every night to the starch filled meals that seemed to have no taste.


I am from dancing in front of hundreds at a moments notice to carrying three unknown children in a 12 person van that somehow seated 15.


I am from riding side saddle on a motorbike for miles, praying to God that this won't be my last to calling random women Mama to show my utmost respect.


I am from red dust that would camouflage my feet to being one with the road to being touched and played with by random strangers, no matter how old.


I am from endless star ridden skies to beautiful blood red sunsets in a place that you've thought you had died.

Madie Padon

 

Madie Padon '12 taught biology and science at the Holy Cross Schools near Lake Victoria in Uganda.

 
 Where I'm From
Claire Smith 

I'm from the big leaf maple tree with the yellow slide and swing underneath,

From vegetable gardens and woodstoves,

Home cooking and families whose names are like legends in the Valley -- Zender, Strachila, Galbraith, Engholm.

I'm from 40 minute drives to "Town" to get groceries.


I'm from classical piano -- Mozart, Schubert --

From family outings to the city, to the theatre, to the aquarium,

From "Money can't buy you happiness, especially if you don't ever use it," and "Love is something if you give it away."


I'm from sit and stand in church.

Liturgies and Sunday School Songs,

Kyrie eleison and Vespers ‘86,

From Holden's Village Center ceiling and Railroad Creek footbridge.


I'm from the university.

From words like "juxtaposition" and "neocolonialism."
I'm from sestinas and short stories,

From "liminal spaces" and "intersectionality"

From walks around Spanaway Lake and late night runs to WinCo.

I'm from silent solidarity, staring at computer screens until our eyes blur and we have to dance around, singing in silly voices until we feel like humans again.


I'm from study away.

From papel picado, chicharrones, and tlayudas

From Día de los Muertos and drinking smoky, burning mezcal until I like it.

From being a güerra, güerra and a señorita.

I'm from misunderstandings and putting my foot in my mouth and talking around my meaning.


I'm from urban bike paths and taking the MAX.

From crisis lines and grupos de apoyo

From "1 in 3 women" and "You deserve to ALWAYS feel safe"

From trying to accompany, to create healing spaces

I'm from Big Sky and Big Horn Mountains

From pow wows and basketball tournaments

From "What kind of Indian are you?" and "Maaaaan, Teacher, you're mean!"

From trying to accompany, to create safe spaces


I'm from Ruined for Life

From tense grocery conversations and game nights

From dinner tables and cooking disasters

I'm from silent solidarity, trying to hold the woes of the world until our eyes blur and we have to dance around, singing in silly voices until we feel like humans again.

From strangers making a home together.

Claire Smith

 

As part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Claire Smith '12 served domestic violence survivors in Oregon and was an academic assistant at a school on the Crow reservation in Montana.

 
Where I'm From
Justin Willis 

I'm from my childhood. Rain, rain, and more rain. The Pacific Northwest at its finest. The Olympics, the X-games, Major League Baseball. I am going to be there one day. Moving from city to city, new friends, new plans. Diversity and public education shaping who I am.

I'm from college. Deepened faith and silent retreats. Still one of the most moving things I have done. Sit with your thoughts and see what happens. Science, so much science. But also social justice. Social justice and science. Best friends, lost friends. Confusion, questioning, anger, pain. Discernment. Choosing what ultimately brought me most joy.

I'm from JVC Northwest. Conversations about 2% milk. Is this even important? Solidarity, social justice, spirituality, community. Mac Attack. Guy, Dave, Courtney, Eddy, Ben, Stephanie, Irena, Jordan, Nic, Todd, Julia, and so many more. Never getting the balance right. Inadequacy, regret, and many mistakes. But ultimately so much joy.

I'm from life after service. Stress about the future. Tests, tests, and more tests, and probably more tests after that. Being welcomed home by my parents. Surviving through adversity and coming out better on the other side.


Justin Willis

 

Justin Willis '13 served in the Recuperative Care Program at the Old Town Clinic, working alongside Portland's homeless population.