J500 Media and the Environment


My experience with the Lawrence Homeless Shelter by christinewerem
July 26, 2009, 6:50 pm
Filed under: J840 Week 6 | Tags: ,

Before the service-learning project began, I thought I knew what to expect while working with homeless clients at the Lawrence Community Shelter. Not only was I wrong but I was also unaware what it’s like to communicate with full-time employees who work for a non-profit.

As an undergraduate I completed a two-page photography spread about the homeless for my student newspaper. At that time, I was bringing lunch to the homeless twice a week for a religion class and felt the people that were taking the lunches deserved to be brought to life. My undergrad was in downtown Milwaukee and a student couldn’t help but walk by a homeless client at least once a day. This experience led me to believe I would interact with a homeless client who would embarrass me by saying something off-color during conversation as this is what happened to me as an undergraduate.

It’s no big surprise that I was dead wrong (I’m usually wrong about a lot of things). I talked to Pam who is a huge success story, I talked to Jerry Nyhoff who had ideas on how homeless clients can recycle and help the Lawrence community out and I talked to Robin who, along with her husband, were previous homeless clients and are now full-time volunteers. Everyone I talked to disproved my stupid theories about homeless clients’ personalities. These theories were created years ago and deserved to be distinguished.

Receiving communication from employees at the Lawrence Community Shelter (LCS) and the agency that was suppose to provide pro-bono work for the shelter was difficult. While receiving communication from the shelter took a few days, my group had no response from the agency. I expected communication between my group and the LCS employees to be difficult which is completely understandable considering the few employees and numerous clients the shelter has.

So working with the LCS employees was not surprising but working with its homeless clients was. And I am so glad to be proven wrong.

Christine W.

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