Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Holidays!

November has come and gone so quickly. We started the month by driving eight hours each way to the JVC Northwest fall retreat in Loon Lake, Washington. The retreat was centered on community and featured a lot of good knowledge about how to live better in and appreciate community. The retreat was on a beautiful lake, as pictured, and we had a lot of time to relax after about three months of service.

The weekend after retreat, my dad visited Boise for the weekend. We got to do touristy things downtown, then we went to Cascade, ID for a day. Pictures can’t do justice to the beauty of the drive and of the lake once we arrived. On his last day here, my dad came to service with me and I got to show him around the shelter and introduce him to guests who were there that day. It was nice to see the shelter through his eyes and to get a fresh perspective on what I’ve been doing for the past few months. Sharing Boise with him was definitely a highlight this month!

At the shelter, we have been preparing for colder weather and for Thanksgiving. Donations of warmer clothes, hand warmers, and lots of food have been coming in regularly. We are having an extremely warm fall here, which I am grateful for because it means that the guests got another month or so of warmer weather to stay outside in, if that is what they have to do. Shelters in the area are filling up as the weather changes and the day shelter I serve at fills up every morning with people wanting to get out of the cold. When the shelter is so full with people that many have to stand as they cannot find a seat, people get hostile and agitated with one another. This means there are sometimes arguments and fights that break out when people cannot get enough space from one another. This doesn’t happen too often, but it’s why de-escalation is so important. I am always learning so much from the volunteers and staff I have the privilege to serve with each day who have been volunteering for years. Something I can’t help taking away from this experience is that one never stops learning and that many situations don’t have a clear-cut solution, which makes things difficult but worth taking time to help with.  

Thanksgiving at the shelter was like any other day, but with lots of food and a few more decorations. One volunteer worked all week to make seven turkeys and a lot of sides to feed about one hundred guests. The rest of my community came to help set up and serve the meal, as they had the day off from service. The day went well, but it felt like any other day. This is not surprising, as for the guests it was like any other day. My community and I had Thanksgiving dinner with one of our support families, which was really nice. The next day we went to the Christmas Tree Lighting in downtown Boise. This event of coming together with others was much needed after a busy couple of weeks. I am grateful for so much during this holiday season and I hope that everyone else can experience some joy at this time of the year.

This blog does not reflect the views and beliefs of JVC Northwest or my service site.