Life Skills


Today was long, as are most of my days here. I’m beginning to see things piling up, and wonder how I’ll ever have the time to tackle everything I’d like.

I’m really starting to catch myself when I agree to take on these projects. It’s great to get involved and want to help out, but when you overcommit to things, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin. I can remind myself of this lesson over and over again, and yet I still don’t listen…

This morning I worked on Adelante’s Facebook page some more. If you are a member of Facebook and have yet to “Like” our page, I encourage you to do so—it’s a great tool to see what the program is up to. http://www.facebook.com/Adelante.LaPuente?ref=hl

Too often these pages for organizations become static and aren’t updated frequently enough, so I’m doing my best to post something on it each day. I’ve also connected a few posts to the La Puente FB page, and have found a tremendous increase of traffic through their viewers. I’ve been updating the page with inspirational quotes, videos and pictures, and I’m also working on incorporating resources and tips on various topics our clients (and the community) can utilize. (Today I’ve reached over 2,000 people with the photo I’ve included below, even though we’re only at 89 “likes” on our page! That’s well over 1,920 more than usual…) It’s a slow process, but I want it to develop into a reputable page for people to turn to…

Anna, Nicole and I tackled on some inventory in the attic this afternoon. There were many, many extra Christmas presents that weren’t needed this year, and we had to spend time unwrapping and sorting them all into categories. I wish I took a picture of the piles of donated items we’ve received over the last several months, it was certainly a big project to take on trying to organize it all…and still has to be continued.

I taught Life Skills tonight and focused it around finding your passions. It was one of the first times I’ve taught a class before, and let me tell you there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. I had a lot of things in mind that I wanted to say, but feel there wasn’t always a nice flow or transition in between different points. I started out by having everyone around the room introduce themselves and say what they were most passionate about. Most of them took pride in their children, making a craft or going to school. I then gave a little background about me, and read my “This I Believe,” with my painting from Ghana in hand.

After, I broke into some photographs because I was encouraged to talk about my travels—but I felt it was too wide of a topic to cover in a half hour. How do I narrow it down to a few stories when I went to so many different places? I wish I had just saved that cultural/traveling experience for another class because it felt much too rushed…

Also, I should mention, Life Skills is a requirement for these clients, so they aren’t always thrilled to be there. I could tell that most of them had a lot going on in their minds and in their lives outside of the class and weren’t really interested in hearing what I had to say. I wish I had reacted to that better and engaged them into more of a discussion rather than just listening to me speak to them. There were a few people who chimed in with questions or comments, but next time I would definitely make more of an effort to get an entire group discussion going…

After some photographs—and a few decent cultural lessons I shared—I played them the Pep Talk from Kid President video. I wanted to get them in the mindset of thinking about their lives, and what they wanted to accomplish. I then explained to them an exercise I did while on SAS where we wrote ourselves personal letters ranging from what was on our mind; what we were passionate about; our goals; things we were happy/unhappy with; what we wanted to improve on; who we wanted to keep in touch with or reconnect with—really, just about anything we wanted to put down on paper…We then sealed these letters into self-addressed envelopes and turned them in to be forgotten about. Six months later, we would find them in our mailboxes and reflect on where we were when we wrote the letter and how far we’d come since then. It really helped me to read the letter I wrote to myself when I got off the ship, and I still do this exercise a few times a year… I had the clients do the same thing tonight, and can only hope that most took advantage of the opportunity.

As soon as Life Skills ended, I went with Dores to meet Ruth Bloom and her daughter, Lonna. If you go to Adelante’s tab on La Puente’s website, you can find a bit of information about the Ruth Bloom Fund: http://www.lapuente.net/family.php. I received an email today saying that they wished her story and a link to donate was more visible on La Puente’s homepage before her 98th birthday on April 3! I completely agree, there is a lot that needs to be done to revamp the website. So, this is yet another project I’ve agreed to work on.

Meeting Ruth tonight was absolutely wonderful. She is such a sweet, selfless woman with an open-door policy for all. Before I said goodbye she said, “mi casa, tu casa.” I’ll be visiting with her over the next few weeks to gather photographs and hear her story. I am so looking forward to those visits.

My sheets are dry, but I’m still waiting on a blanket. Perhaps by tomorrow I’ll have a full set of bedding!

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