Amber Blevins 3/12/12

Today was a day to truly learn to appreciate the things that you are given, the things you work for, and the things that you are lucky enough to have. I’m talking about everything from your family to your clothes, all of your personal belongings and just a nice place to stay. We worked at an orphan relief center today, helping organize and fill orders. These poor children have been taken from their homes because of a bad environment at home. Unfortunately, they may not have been picked up at their house; they may have been picked up at school or in the middle of the night, anywhere. So not only do they have to deal with the fact that they were taken away without a moment’s notice, they may have been in public or around peers that could potentially make fun of them post-situation. These kids are having to deal with a lot more than I can ever imagine. I remember just being made fun of for the same thing that everyone was at my high school was bad enough, let alone being picked on about how someone’s family was better than mine. It disheartens me to think that such a bully is possible, but you know as well as I do that someone out there has put a child down for it. I helped my roommate put an order together today for a 14 year old girl. She needed everything from outfits to bathroom supplies like shampoo and conditioner. We got to put a stuffed animal in her order too, and I decided that I wanted to pick it out. I found an adorable puppy dog that would be perfect for cuddling. I’m 18 years old and I still sleep with a stuffed animal (usually a monkey named Charlie), and I know I would want the biggest stuffed animal I could have to be able to hold and sleep with at night if I were in a situation like that. I truly hope she does, but that little girl may not even have friends, and if she doesn’t, that big stuffed puppy will end up being her best friend in the world.
We actually ended up working quite a bit today; there was a bunch of different rooms to do things in even though the building didn’t look that big at all. There were a lot of clothes there, which was awesome because I’m sure they’ll end up going through them. That’s the sad part, though, that they have to go through the clothes. That’s a kind of situation that shouldn’t have to happen. If a person is going to have a child, they should be prepared for it. Of course, there are times when the parents pass on and it wasn’t their fault, but more than not, it’s because the child is neglected or abused. No one deserves to be abused in any shape or form, but especially not children. They haven’t had the time to mature enough to be able to handle abuse or neglect, and they need love, nourishment, and care from their authority figures, not pain and ignorance.
The orphan relief center is a really great program that does as much as they can for these unfortunate children. There still shouldn’t be a need for such programs. Another sad concept is about the children who go through the same problems, but don’t get assistance from relief centers. I’m not saying that the relief center denies children, but I’m talking about the kids who are in environments that aren’t discovered to be a danger to them; the really unfortunate kids that grow up in situations that they can’t escape from because no one is aware that they need help. There are just too many sad things about today that are hard to explain and that I think shouldn’t exist, but they somehow do. I’m just glad we are here to help what little we can. Honestly, if I could, I would donate a lot more than just a few hours of working. There were some things that they needed, like the little boys clothing didn’t show up as much today as the little girls’ did. However, there are just some things that not everyone can accomplish. Like I said, I’m just glad that we could help the employers and the kids what little we could today.

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Duc Ho – Monday, 03/12/2012

Today we went to do service at Low Country Orphan Relief, center for helping children abused or neglected. Like yesterday, I think today’s work is easy, but I still learn something new.

I learned how to sweep effectively. In the afternoon, most of the people were directed to sweep the leaves off the ground of the center. So, we all pick up racks and leaves blower to do the task. After some sweeping, I felt tired a bit , and Chance told me an effective way to sweep easily. He said it is like in painting, sweeping the leaves up –down like the U shape. It is quite effective. We finished up with 12 bags of leaves.

Before sweeping the leaves, I and Chance and Ryuki also help organize clothes and shoes . We looked for hidden shoe size number and put them in correspondent buckets. That is all we do. We had a good time getting to know one another more because the work is not a lot. We also takes some picture together.

The end of the day is yes another picture taken outside. We had have a really good time helping the center as long as playing.

Hiromi Kowata 3/12/12

Our volunteer work at Orphan Relief made me realize how blessed I am. While working on our service project and thinking about how I have grown up, I could not come up with even a word to complain about my life. I have parents who raised me with immeasurable love, supported and trusted my will and decisions anytime in my life. Today’s volunteer project made me indirectly face the realities that there are children abused or neglected by their parents and do not have any place to go back, which is where we usually call a home.
What we could at least do was to be a part of Orphan Relief to provide those children with essentials. Whenever we received “orders”, which describe general information of children that includes age, sex, clothing size, and necessities required, we looked for the supplies stocked at the facility, gathered and put them in a plastic bag. I had a fairly strong hesitation to call a piece of paper that describes a child “order”. To me, it sounded almost same as an order of food delivery, though it is completely in-equivalent.
In my mind, the paper was defined as a piece of information of a child who could fortunately receive some necessities to restart his/her life. I assume that there are countless of children who do not even receive any supports as the Orphan Relief does, which is why I wanted to call the child the one “fortunately” receives supports. Although it is quite sad that there are orphans in our societies, I wanted to help those children, whose information were received by the institution, with my hope that they will meet people who love them and become ones who can love and trust others.
p.s. I picked a book, “Good Sports”, which talks about benefits you gain from playing sports in both physical and mental aspects, and put it in a bag that will be sent to a female child. I hoped that child will love sports like I do. Trying to develop a love for sports was something that I would do when I have my kids.

Ashley Carver 3/12/1

Today we went to the LowCountry Orphan Relief. I must admit that I had mixed feelings about it. When we were filling orders for kids that had just been put into a foster home it was almost like the emotions and feeling that I personally knew the kids were going through were seeping through the paper and into me. When I started gathering clothes to give to this child, I realized that the kid I was helping literally had nothing but the clothes on their back. I hated knowing that they felt like that. The two boys that I got to pick clothes out for were 4 and 16 years old. Well since I am obviously not a boy, I imagined what I would let my son wear, or what I think would be attractive on a guy. I am by no means a fashion major or anything but I feel like I did the best I could. The other half of my emotions were happy that even though the kids would not know the difference, that I packed those bags for them and that for the rest of their lives I will be the girl that picked out the clothes they would wear for their first week at their foster home. I really hate that the kids had to be neglected in some way for me to be put there to help them, but everything happens for a reason. It was nice to go to the Orphan Relief Center and them actually have an idea as to what we were going to be doing, in comparison to our experience at the Young and Teen Mother Home. I know they tried to do what they could, but it was a bit confusing. Although we were on our feet all day, I feel safe saying that almost all of us felt really good about being able to help those children whom were no longer allowed to be in their own home. The coordinator of the organization told us that sometimes the kids would be taken in the middle of the night, or from school and literally did not have any of their belongings with them. My first thought was about the younger kids who use “blankies” and/or teddy bears for security(to sooth them and help them go to sleep). I know as a child I never had one, but I feel like for those kids who really feel incomplete without them would need it more when they are stressed than when they are in their everyday environment. Even though the whole reason they were in the program would have been some kind of neglect or abuse, that was their everyday norm and to them I feel like they would see the social workers and foster parents as the enemy for taking them away from their mommys and daddys. I am so glad that we did this service project and I know that we could have stayed hours and helped them organize and sort clothing. All in all it was a good day. 🙂

Kaylyn Jennings, Day 3 (Monday)

We went to the Lowcounty Orphan Relief Center and we were told that they supplied different foster parents and social workers with things that kids need. Officers would often take children out of their homes at night or while they’re at school and wouldn’t be able to get the kids any of their things. The Lowcounty Orphan Relief Center helps the children by having clothes for children between newborns to 18 year olds. They had different supplies such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, jackets, books, school supplies, and stuffed animals. They get most of their money from donations and grants, none from the government.

The rewarding thing I got from today was that I got to work with everyone on the trip that I normally don’t talk to. I got to see a new side of everyone and it made me comfortable with being around everyone. We all worked together to sort clothes and put them into the proper rooms and shelves. It was also a rewarding experience because I had the satisfaction of knowing that I helped the organization out by sorting things that they needed to be sorted. We also helped by filling out orders that they had for things that children needed. Being able to pick out cute outfits for the children was really fun and it made me feel like I was making a difference by helping those kids by picking things out that they might like.

A frustrating thing that I had to deal with was when we were sorting through clothes that were already put into bags; a lot of them weren’t in the proper bags. Some of the bags would have mostly kid’s clothes while others had junior or adult clothes; so we’d have to sort through them twice as much to be able to put them in the correct rooms and shelves. It was also frustrating when we had to determine what size clothing was because it didn’t have a tag on it.

Another experience I had was going to a new restaurant that I’d never eaten at before. Some of us went to this BBQ place, they were very fast at serving us and the pulled chicken was really good with their BBQ sauce. Their macaroni and cheese was really weird though and I didn’t really like it that much, but I have a feeling if I would eat there more often I’d like it because that macaroni and cheese I’m just not used to. Overall, today was a very busy but productive day and I enjoyed myself.

Ashley W. 3/12/12

Mother Theresa. Little Annie with her freckles singing and dancing away. Madeline lining up and out the door. To be unwanted, to feel unloved, to have no one to look after you, still so young and still so fragile. Waiting on some magical family to come along and save you because you hear of these stories of people actually having a mommy and daddy who go to work and fix you dinner. Waiting on a family who won’t leave you stranded. This is what came to mind when I heard the word orphan. At least that was before today. I never really gave it much thought aside from my small amount of education on it and how I wish I were super human and could save them all.
Today while at the Lowcountry Orphan Relief, I realized how much I truly do enjoy what we are doing on this trip. It doesn’t matter how small or large the task. From painting, to hammering, to shredding paper, and picking up leaves I feel so accomplished like I actually did something that mattered. Even if I only helped one person, that is one person WHO I HELPED and that makes me proud.
The Lowcountry Orphan relief is a non-profit program that provides children who have been abused or neglected needs and service. This site was extremely well organized and greeting. We bagged clothing, sorted through them, and even raked some leaves. Raking leaves might not sound like something you would need to do to help a child in need, but it truly is. By doing something these workers who are around the clock working to help these children would normally have to make extra time for, is indeed giving them a break.
There were bags on top of bags of donations people had given the relief. So many books and toys on top of clothes and shoes and more clothes and shoes. It’s amazing how much of an effect a simple bag of hand-me-downs can have on a child’s life. Picture being taken away from your home in the middle of the night with nothing but your body to tag along. We over look simple things all of the time while there are those out there who don’t even have a home to go to. The saddest my heart gets is when I see children doing without. Bagging up each bag, for each child it made me feel like I was contributing so much.
Something that really excited me with this certain site was that with each bag they would put a stuffed animal and a book no matter the age of the child. Some of these children may have never even owned a stuffed animal which is extremely saddening. Some may have never been read a bed time story which is extremely saddening. So that which seems so little is really such a big thought. That one teddy bear some little boy could cherish for the rest of his life. Or that little dolly some little girl holds while hearing her favorite bedtime story could be a memory she holds on to for life.
I am a very young mother to a four year old so today made me once again realize how lucky I truly have been to be blessed with a family who has stood by me and gave a helping hand many of times. There are so many out there who do not have that and I feel guilt for it sometimes, like I have something I wish I could give to others. Earlier while folding these little 5t pajama’s I couldn’t help but to think of the little girl who would end up sleeping in them and how much I wish could do more, help more. I want to be the mother these kids never had, in reality I can’t and because well I simply can’t. I’m still young and I am still in school so there any many of things preventing me from adopting or fostering children at this point just to be honest; however one day in my future I plan to do so. I have held on to this desire since my daughter was born.

Ashley W., 3/11/12.

Florence Crittenton Programs of SC, a service helping 10-21 year old females who become pregnant, proving them the education and support they need to raise a healthy baby. Today gave me very complex emotions. I was very frustrated when we first arrived to the home, they seemed to be unsure of what task they wanted our group to do. The majority of the group started out by organizing baby clothes. About 6 tubs of donated baby clothes, I stopped and thought about how amazing that is to have people out there, everywhere who can be so caring and giving it put a smile on my face.  A few others and myself headed down to their chapel to clean up, here is where frustration comes into play once again WE CANNOT GET INTO EITHER OF THE TWO DOORS key after key finally a student crawls through an unlocked window to open the door and let the rest of us in. During the task I slip off into thoughts, thinking about how amazing what the program does really is. They house up to 30 girls and their babies at a time. Feed them, clothe them, medical care, education, social support. There are so many young girls left alone and unguided during teen pregnancy. For there to be programs in our nation who do this out of the own good of their hearts, it inspires me so much. I myself was once like these girls in this program, I was only 15 when I found out I was pregnant and it’s scary and it’s hard and you feel completely alone, isolated at times. You messed up your whole life, that thought ran through my head many of times. Support was the one thing that carried me through and I was fortunate enough to have people there for me I realize after today more than ever some people don’t. I am truly grateful for everything I have and all I have become and will become. The pregnancy rate for West Virginia girls between 15 and 19 years old increased by 17 percent, from 2007 to 2009. Being the number one state of increase in teen pregnancy. I would love to see a program similar to do in our area. It would be of so much help to so many young women. I think it would equal to less drug abuse, less high school dropouts, and less child neglect. A lot of these issues that occur happen because people are not properly educated on parenting. I think within my future I would consider opening up such a service or possibly working for such a service. It simply just hits home.

Morgan 3/12/12

Today, we went to the Lowe Country Orphan Relief Center. Children and teens get taken from their homes, without time to grab any necessities like clothes or toiletries.  This center is a place where those children, who are taken from their homes for whatever reason, are given the things they need. A case worker or police officer sends an order with a list of what the children need, their sizes, age, and first name. The workers at the center then “shop” the donations sent to them to get the children the basic needs for about a week. Our group spent our time sorting and putting donations up, filling orders, and cleaning up outside.

Each order we filled was difficult because each person has their own style and possibly already knows exactly what they like to wear. Without knowing someone, it’s difficult to pick out items they may actually like. Also, while picking out socks and tooth brushes for these kids, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that these children and teens have just been taken from their homes, some possibly in the middle of the night.

As our to-do list piled up, it was simple to see that the center had a shortage of volunteers despite the good that could come from even one more person helping. Bags upon bags were thrown on the table to be sorted. Some donations were dirty or dated and had to be given away. There was a shortage of uniforms and of various sizes, so those children had to just hope they were lucky enough for a few pairs of pants and a couple shirts because the donations sent to the center did not always meet the demand for certain sizes. If more donations were sent, perhaps these children could be guaranteed to get the clothes they needed rather than a size larger.

Working at this center was a wonderful experience and I wish we had on back home to aid those children. Children everywhere are uprooted due to the condition of their home. Each and every one of those children need help to develop some sort of stability in their life once it has been shaken.

Hiromi Kowata 3/11/12

After the volunteer work at Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina this morning, I was sure that I could say “I am an expert of distinguishing sizes of baby clothes based on their age.” I worked on sorting out a pile of baby cloth donated to the institution with majority of our members. What made me surprised was that newborn baby clothes were much smaller than thought. They were almost the size of my hand. I could not picture myself having been that tiny. While sorting out the baby clothes at the site, I expressed my appreciation to my parents, in my mind, for raising me.
While working, I was also thinking what if I was pregnant when I was a teenager. It was quite hard to imagine how I manage my life as a pregnant as well as a mother later on. I could not see myself being a mother all while attending high school or college. I felt those who became a mother and determined to raise their children in their teens, no matter what reasons they have were quite brave. I left the facility hoping that they will be able to stand on their own feet through the support and education provided at the institution.

Duc Ho – Sunday, 03/11/2012

Today, we get to help the Florence Crittenton Center,  pregnant teens center. It is pretty much leisure work. All we do is to categorize children’s clothes according to their month’s tags : new born, 3 – 6 month, 6 – 9 month, 9 – 12 month, and 18 – 24 month. We ended up putting some clothes on buckets since the clothe shelf is full. I learn to cooperate with others. I along with some others set clothes on the shelf while others categorize clothes. It is an easy work and I learn how to cooperate with others.

The afternoon is free day. We went to Calhoun mansion and heard an interesting story about the house. Then we go see the movie. It is a fun day. After all, having free day is good, it ‘s Spring Break.

Thank you Kathy for today.

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