I had a difficult time choosing which event to write about. I attended both Mr. RIC and went to crossroads with my sorority. I feel as if both of these events connect very differently but very well to the many aspects we have learned throughout this semester.
Although this is true, I am going to focus on my experience at crossroads. I had no idea what to expect when I showed up to volunteer but it was definitely an experience I will never forget. At first I thought I was going to be serving the homeless people but turns out we were cleaning the kitchen, serving area, and dining area. I am not going to get into great detail but I'll just say it needed to be cleaned very badly.
The entire time I was cleaning these areas I found myself thinking about Augusts article "Safe Spaces" as well as Kozols article, "Amazing Grace". Although the topics of these articles do not connect directly to my event I do believe the main ideas taken out of these articles do. In both "Safe Spaces" and "Amazing Grace" the idea of feeling safe and welcome in an environment is very important. "Safe Spaces" speaks on the ideas of making LGBT students feel welcome and "Amazing Grace" speaks on the ideas of how such young children feel safe in a not so safe atmosphere. Like these instances, the people who attend crossroads feel safe and welcome in this environment. Although it is not in the best shape they receive food and spend time with individuals who may be in the same situation as them. So, like the stories in these two articles, at crossroads there is some type of connection with the people that makes everything feel as good as it can.
After completing my service and leaving this event I thought back to the article by Kahne and Westheimer, "In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning". Even though the individuals who get served at this kitchen were not there and I was not able to "suffer with them", to some extent I still feel as if I did. While doing the service of cleaning these areas I was able to see to some extent the conditions these individuals live under. I tried to put myself in their position and think of how they viewed this place as a "good" place even though it was extremely dirty.
I loved to be able to connect this experience to our semester in class. During this experience I was able to see how lucky I truly am and how peoples lives can vary greatly. In fact, it really hit home to me that crossroads is two streets over from the school where I complete my service-learning. This just shows how important it is to not judge anyone. Everyone undergoes their own difficulties and struggles and as a future teacher I want to be able to help in some way or another.