The (not-so-much-yoga) Garden

Written by Lily Sall, WLLC 2015-2016

This past week we were finally able to begin planting at Fisher, and while it was super fun for sure, it did not go quite how we expected. First of all, nobody at Fisher was able to get it together enough to tell us when we should actually come in to help, they just told us, “Come in whenever!” I think that this was meant to be friendly to us, but it meant that when we got there it was pretty chaotic, and there wasn’t always a classroom that needed us. Once we did get situated with classrooms, we began to realize how long our seemingly short little children’s book really was. While we had anticipated being able to read to and do yoga with the entire class, it was usually more like five kids at a time, and the majority of our effort went into just getting the seeds planted without anybody crying or throwing dirt. Luckily, our whole group was very good at adapting as needed and filling in for each other so we were able to get the seeds all planted, talk to the kids about gardening and get them excited, and get them to think a little bit about loving and caring for their garden.

Despite everything not going exactly as planned, personally I still felt that the project was an overall success – and our goals might have been just a little bit too ambitious for the age group (3 to 5 year-olds) we were working with. They all walked away smiling though, excited to watch their plants grow. The teachers seemed appreciative of the extra help, and Abbey, Kourtney, Alina and I all had such a good time hanging out with those goofy lil’ nuggets. We are now known as “the garden ladies.” I am proud of our group for all the effort we put in to make this garden a success and for our newly-learned ability to adapt and respond to the needs of those who we are trying to serve. Creating your own service project instead of just volunteering takes a lot! I think all of Fisher has moved the garden up on their list of priorities, and will hopefully be able to successfully continue this program on their own next year with the aid of The Yoga Garden to get kiddos interested, and our chart of kid-friendly plants with instructions to help take the busy-work off the teachers’ plates!

Teacher: “If we take a seed, put it in the dirt, and add water and sunlight what do you think will happen?”

Student: “It will turn into a garbage truck!”

Community Project

Written by Cassidy Knipp, WLLC 2015-2016

For the duration of the quarter, I have been working with Career services. Our initial thought was to target graduating seniors, but we were uncertain what topic we wanted to tackle. Then during one of the meetings Carolyn told us that a new issue had been brought to her attention from alumni resources. The topic is about Marijuana and drug testing. The topic has just recently sprung to peoples’ attention, so we are part of the leading front for figuring out a solution.

We have been brainstorming— “developing creative solutions to problems” (Engagement Toolkit)—throughout the quarter trying to find the best way to bring this issue to students’ attention. At the fair, we presented three posters with different advertising to see which poster was favored. The poster regarding how long marijuana stays in the system won the most votes. From the survey, we now know what students care about. From our research, we have learned that if a company does a hair drug test, then the applicant needs to be clean of marijuana at least 6-12 months, but hair tests are rare. General rule of thumb is about 30 days if you are a healthy active person (The Weed Blog). Most people don’t want to straight up ask how long they have to stop smoking, so we are thinking an anonymous question answer setup on the career services webpage would be beneficial. “61.8% of companies surveyed said they test employees” for drugs (High Times). That’s a lot of companies.

Most students are unaware of how large the number of companies actually testing is and that this is a growing problem in their demographic. In order to have effective engagement we will “build relationship with the community and other stakeholders” (Engagement Toolkit). We will build relationships with the alumni center and career services and also students and companies so that way the largest amount of people are informed about the subject.

Public Goods for the Public Good

Written by Anna Santoro, WLLC 2015-2016

 

The variation between public goods and the Public Good is a thin line, but when examined side to side both can complement each other in a way that supports greater overall understanding of service overall. One article defines the Public Good as “a search for harmony and understanding within contested and dissonant cultural spaces”. To me, this definition is a beautiful juxtaposition of two ideas, and serves perfectly to explain what it defines. When we serve the public good, we will always be dealing with a space that includes a huge variety of social and moral understandings, some of which will always be polar opposites. In order to serve our community, we must be able to understand these perspectives and work with them to highlight their differences in a way that will mix well. In order to do this, we must be willing to introduce methods and services that support everyone’s understanding. These public goods contribute to the better overall success of any service work or project, from teaching to volunteer work to a yoga class, to other methods. An article about public goods defines them as “things [that] do not lend themselves to [market] production, purchase and sale. They must be provided for everyone if they are to be provided for anyone, and they must be paid for collectively or they cannot be had at all”. Public goods are created to be used by and for everyone. It is a kind of communal beauty that exists in something to be shared by all. If we can learn to create things that will exist for the good and betterment of anyone and all who wish to access them, we will be able to better convene with the people we share experiences with. If we wish to serve the Public Good, we must do so through creating and providing public goods.

 

 

Intergenerational Wellness

I am working with Kavod Senior Life and I have honestly really enjoyed my time there. I have had the chance to participate in some cool activities such as bingo and fitness fun and meet some really cool people. I’ve heard some stories in the elevator that I probably didn’t need to know as well.

My group’s goal for this project is to increase the amount of volunteers and visitors that go to Kavod. The people who live at Kavod love when Nikky, Jacob, and I come to visit them. They love telling us stories about where they come from and their growing up. The first time we went to play bingo there was this lady who saw Nikki was drinking coffee and told us about how she was from France and how the French start drinking really strong coffee (expressos) basically at the age of two. This lady also coincidently looked exactly like the mother in Our Big Fat Greek Wedding.

We are making a video for our project and we have gotten some great pictures with these people as well as some super cute videos. On our trip to Kavod for fitness fun we got a cute video of Nikky and myself with a little lady from Mexico named Virginia lifting 3 pound weights. She was so excited to be in our video and lifting weights with the young girls.

My experience at Kavod has introduced me to so many different kinds of wellness. The two forms of wellness I have really seen and learned the most about though this is experience are multicultural wellness and relational wellness. With a lot of these people being Russian I have learned a lot about their culture and heritage. When one of their friend pass away they all stop by the visitation and tell stories about their friend and their friend’s life. It’s a much bigger deal and celebration than the visitations I’m accustom to. I also see relational wellness being the other type of wellness that is a huge part of this experience. The people at Kavod get so excited when they see us and just want to talk to us about any and everything. We spend just about as much time learning about their lives as we do doing the activity we are attending. It makes the people at Kavod happy to spend time with us and it makes me personally happy after is spend time with them and learn about their lives and experiences.

I will be sad when my time at Kavod comes to an end, but for now I have nail painting to look forward to doing for the ladies at Kavod tomorrow morning!

Coping. Sort’ve.

Written by Riley Robert, WLLC 2015-2016

A few weeks previous we attended a seminar addressing infant loss and how families are learning to cope with it. I, being a 19 year old student, have obviously not yet experienced this, and hope I never have to. However, I have experienced traumatic loss, so I like to think I understand at least a portion of the perspective that anyone going through a loss like this would have. I like to think that over this past year I’ve been coping. Sort’ve.

A large portion of the seminar was focused on ways people find to cope. This included scrapbooking to commemorate their lost loved ones, but I felt like it also touched on things we do for ourselves. These are things that really make ourselves feel better. As much as some people dislike the idea of getting tattoos to commemorate loved ones, I have a tattoo on my shoulder that was inspired by two people that were very close to me that passed away. I didn’t get their name or initials, I got an ohm sign with the circle of life around it. As strange as it sounds, I can’t find the word choice to do justice for what this tattoo means to me, and I think getting it helped me accept reality and move forward. Having said this, I don’t think commemoration is the only way to cope with loss. I think a large part of coping is getting out of bed, even when it physically hurts, and making yourself do something to lift you up. Drink coffee on the porch in the morning. Read a good book. Go for a walk on a nice day. Watch the sunset. Coping is doing things for yourself so it hurts less.

A concluding portion of the seminar addressed things that people said that were and were Untitled.pngnot helpful in their time of grieving, I found this interesting, as I had experienced some similar feelings. The knee jerk reaction when someone gets hurt or something bad happens is to say “it will be okay,” I say it. You say it. We all say it. But I found that being on the other side of the “it will be okay” really just makes you want to scream. This is usually because nothing about the situation is okay or even remotely fair. I did find, rethinking my past, that I appreciated it most when people just told me they were there for me, or that it was okay to be at a low point. Because it is. I read something the other day, and it said

“[People] are obsessed with the idea of happiness as if it’s a constant state of being. Happiness comes in moments. You don’t ‘achieve’ happiness. You experience it along with every other emotion on the spectrum. If you spend your life chasing this constructed idea of happiness you will never even be remotely content. Work on being whole and feeling everything while increasing the happy moments. Stop trying to be a ‘happy person.’ Just be a person.”

It’s okay to be experiencing a low point, which is exactly what working on being whole and feeling everything is. It’s okay to just be a person that’s had some shitty stuff happen to them. We all are going to have shitty stuff happen to us at some point in our lives. So everyone should not work on being a “happy person,” they should work on being just a person. Because coping, even just sort’ve, eventually increases those happy moments. And honestly, no one is ever as happy as they seem, so everyone is in a constant state of coping. Go do something for yourself. It’ll make you feel better, or at least help you cope. Sort’ve.

Making Progress

Written by Abbey Chruchill, WLLC 2015-2016

This quarter I truly learned how difficult it is to coordinate a group project in college. For starters, I’m sure every group has experienced the difficulties of finding a time to meet or work on the project while attempting to accommodate for each group member’s schedule. Although we live in the same floor, eat in the same dining hall, and use the same bathroom, it is without a doubt hard. Regardless, we make it happen. I think our excitement to work with the kids at Fisher Early Learning Center is still outweighing the burden of having to progress on a group project.

So far, we have been visiting Fisher at least once a week, and have finally gathered the supplies in order to start individual plants for the children! We are planning on going in one day to help the teachers facilitate the kids pouring their own soil into their cups and planting their own individual seeds. Once the seeds sprout, we will transfer them to the larger garden bed that Fisher already has from previous years of gardening. With this transfer, the kids will see how something so small can come together and create something large and beautiful. I think that the kids will be truly amazed at what happens to the plants as they progress through life, especially when they finally have the opportunity to eat some! In addition to the active planting process, Alina, Lily, Kourtney, and I have crafted a book to read to the kids after their seeds have been planted. The book focuses on integrating small yoga poses that are associated with the life of a plant. For example, the kids start out in “seed pose,” which is essentially child’s pose, to represent the seed of the plant. After that, they progress into a series of simple and kid-friendly yoga poses, leading up to “tree pose,” representing a full-grown, mature plant. I think that the teachers will really love this book because Fisher has been trying to integrate yoga into the curriculum for quite some time now, but this book is the perfect combination for the kids to learn about both the life of a plant and mindfulness.

Vulnerability with My Doctor

Written by Laura Anderson, WLLC 2015-2016

Maria Brann’s passage, No Time to Grieve, and Dr. Erin Willer’s talk a few weeks ago have opened up a wound that I had decided to hide and put on hold fall quarter. It has been painful, but it’s clear to me that God put these topics in my path in order to do some amazing work in my life this quarter.

A little over a year ago, I was told that there was a good chance I would never have children. That possibility both terrified me, and crushed a huge part of my dreams for the future. One of the hardest parts, though, has been dealing with the different doctors I have seen. All told me (after zero tests were done) that there is a good chance I won’t have kids and/or that I will get cancer…that is, unless I took the pills they prescribed. I was told there was no other option; that was it.

I’ve spent a lot of this journey angry at the doctors, feeling talked down to, kept in the dark, scared, and frustrated. But after reading Brann’s statement that “health care providers and patients share responsibility for communicating effectively with one another,” I realized that I also played a part in the lack of communication that went on in those offices (21).

I don’t mean this in a way of blaming myself for not asking more questions, but in more of a way to let go of the anger and blame towards any party. Doctor-patient relationships are very difficult and nuanced, but open, vulnerable, and active participation from both parties is the only way to get past that and into true healing. Thankfully, I have recently been able to experience this holistic doctor-patient relationship first-hand and can say that it truly does make a world of a difference.