Kind of amazing.
Can you feel the warmth? – Nancy S Taylor (Senior Minister & CEO, Old South Church)
Jessie Community Week 2 Reflection
This week, while the university high students were on vacation, I spent my clinical at the Old South Church warming center for the homeless. Needless to say, it really put my life into perspective of the things I am fortunate to have. When we arrived at the center, we were asked to set up the room and make as many PB&J sandwiches as supplies last. They opened their doors right at 9, and at 9:01 about 15 homeless walked in the room with a refreshing sense of warmth, food, and security. Kate told us at the beginning that just our presence and support would have been enough, to make them feel like a regular person. It was a great experience to be able to interact and help people in a completely different setting (where I am use to working in the hospital). When the people in the shelter saw that I had nursing student on my nametag, they were not shy to come up to me and ask me about their medical issues. I had questions that ranged from Bell’s palsy, to frostbite, to menopause, to a death of a friend. As we were leaving at about noon, everyone (about 30+ people) yelled out goodbye and thanked us for hanging out with them for the day. That was such a good feeling to know that they appreciated us being there. It was so eye-opening to see what the homeless have to go through day in and day out in the winter time. And it is brutal to be living on the streets in Boston this time of the year. Makes you think about all the little things you take for granted in life, like a bed.
Alexis Week 2 Journal
This past week, the students at University High were on winter vacation. In lieu of that, I was lucky enough to spend the morning at the warming center at the Old South Church. There were so many great things about this experience. I will admit that I went into the situation with a small amount of anxiety, but more excitement than anything. That anxiety completely vanished as soon as I started talking to some to some of the people benefitting from the center. They were all respectful and incredibly grateful. They were so thankful to have somewhere warm to go, with good, nutritious food. To the clients, one of the best aspects is the storage bins the center provides. It is a place where they can store things to ensure they stay warm and safe, and somewhere easily accessible. The clients also greatly appreciate the goods that were provided – new pants, socks, thermal underwear, gloves, etc. In fact, Kate, the Reverend in charge of the center, set up an Amazon Gift Registry for the needs requested of the clients. In just a few weeks, over 600 items have been purchased – and these people are so incredibly grateful!
This week, I believe we started to focus on course objectives 1, 5, & 6. I think it was really important for us to sit with and talk to this population to get a better understanding of their health needs. Many of them, not surprisingly, had a lot of questions about frostbite and exposure to extreme temperatures. Many were interested in their blood pressure even though they didn’t know what their norm was, or what a good v. bad blood pressure was. It was interesting to see how eager they were to learn. Some very simple teaching could be greatly beneficial to them. Many of them also didn’t have a very positive opinion of the healthcare they receive. They explained that they have a hard time getting medications, paying for them, and staying on them as they are prescribed due to transportation and financial issues. I think we are failing this population in meeting their healthcare needs, but places like this warming center are a good way to start bridging that gap.