Tutored my student in language
So today was my final volunteer session at St. Albans with Iona Senior Services (at least until the students get to come back to live on the university's campus). Everyone is talking about and either under-reacting or overreacting to the Coronavirus. Sadly, Ife, my usual bud during lunch serving time was not there, as American University was on spring break, but Ellen had returned from Hawaii, and good ole, reliable Nathaniel was there too. Two women I talked to, who were regulars at the center, seemed in great moods. One woman had just fallen last week, and was telling me about her 8-year old great granddaughter and how she tried to give her a face mask and had sanitizer for the virus, which made us both laugh. The other woman did not remember me and asked me, again, where I was going to school. Ellen and Nathaniel set up kitchen stuff and prepared all the lunch trays for the seniors. Meanwhile, I set up the tables and chairs outside in the main space, and wrote on the dry erase board what the day's schedule and lunch would be. Then I chatted with one of the workers there in Spanish, and we talked about the crazy reactions some individuals and institutions were having over the Coronavirus. Later, Ellen and I helped Nathaniel prepare lunch, and then we served out the food to all of the seniors according to dietary restrictions. After lunch, while Nathaniel and Ellen were cleaning up, I led another discussion on my own (Courtney helped me and gave me the confidence to lead it despite my limited knowledge on many current events) concerning the health precautions and designated action we should take related to this Coronavirus outbreak. One woman was skeptical about the whole thing, saying how a lot of these health precautions that the CDC is recommending now, like washing hands thoroughly and not touching your face after touching a public table/doorknob, were practices people should have already been used to. We talked a lot about how the U.S. government and healthcare system were tackling the situation. Some seniors had conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus, but others had more fact/evidence-based comments about the spread of the virus. Then we got into the electoral college system, modern-day politics, the differences between (age) generations in the U.S. concerning political action, and the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election. I ended the discussion by saying that empathy, better listening and communication skills, and respect are all things each individual should acquire/posses if we are to truly change the problematic foundations/institutions that run everyday societal actions.
In graffiti class Luis was assigned to get the teens to help out with the 2020 Census Count in Washington D.C. Essentially, this data can help show where your community needs new services and increased funding. We got old photographed canvases that were still in great shape and repurposed them for this new project. The plan was to spell out the words "BE COUNTED," having one giant painted letter on a separate canvas and then putting them all together. We painted the letters in pastel yellow and alternately made the background bright pink or deep blue. I painted the letter "B," while helping Luis get all of the teens the right tools/supplies and helping the teens with painting techniques. Afterwards, the teens worked more on their bag designs. Two new girls came in today and hopefully they like the class and stay for the remainder of the time. When class was over at six, Luis and I cleaned up the art room.
Today we wrote part 2 of a grant application. We wrote about the Swaliga Foundation's mission, programs, goals, and future plans.