The main reason I thought to write today is because I was at my cousins birthday party this past weekend and a family member (who happens to follow this blog) said "You're really slacking on your blogging." Way to call me out on the failures of my career, but it made me realize I MISS BLOGGING! A lot is happening here and National Novel Writing Month began today, so the time consuming, yet mind-enriching, horizon broadening, process of writing everything and anything has officially started.
The Fall 2011 newsletter is almost completed! I've been rearranging articles and letters, adding photos, taking more photos since I'm afraid you've seen most of them on the blog, and searching to no avail to find quotes to fill in the margins of the newsletter that highlight and emphasize how amazing our volunteers are. As much as I claimed that this newsletter would be the death of me, I have fallen slightly in love with it and am already plotting for the next one.
HEY volunteers, I also have new orientation packets for you with all updated statistics surrounding homelessness, descriptions of our volunteer positions, phone lists and directions on how to use the new phone system, FAQs, and a list of items that are always needed for donation. I've had a lot of people asking for chap stick and lotion lately, it's getting to be that time of year (the cold time, I mean...when your skin starts cracking and nothing can salvage it once it's started). So if any of you that are reading this just so happen to have a stash of chap stick hanging out in your garage wondering "What should I do? I don't have this many lips!" I have a great idea of where you can donate it.
We've instituted a new volunteer position beginning immediately. We're calling it Staff Support and it will be at the overnight shelter from 6pm-9pm. We need this position filled every single night as a regular commitment, especially for No Freeze. Essentially what the Staff Support volunteer does is assist with the checking in of guests and assigning beds, answering phones, and answering questions guests have about showers and chores. You'll be trained, don't worry, we would never just throw you in the dark without a flashlight. For training, we would have to start coming in at 6 on your assigned day and kind of shadowing staff as they explain and show you the processes that you'll need to know. It's very simple and a lot of fun, plus you'll make great relationships and find yourself involved in some of the best conversations of your life. Guaranteed.
My cat fostering is going well. By "well" I mean that she is the sweetest darn cat I've ever seen, almost annoyingly sweet. Prepare to witness my inner (or actually completely obvious at all times) nerd. I found some sparkly little catnip mice for her that she's loving and we eat dinner together at night, and she really liked the movie "How to Steal A Million" with Audrey Hepburn. Totally kidding, she slept through the whole thing...in the bathtub.
We're having an awesome influx of volunteer groups who are looking for projects. I say "awesome" because our new location needs a TON of work and with 70 people in the shelter, the facilities we currently use need constant upkeep and deep cleaning. This weekend we'll have a Connecticut College group and then in about 2 weeks we have another Connecticut College group working on the same project. The Coast Guard has spoken of sending some volunteers as well, in fact I'm going to email them as soon as I'm done writing this and set up a date.
If you're looking for a way to help out the Hospitality Center, but do not have the ability to make time commitments, may I suggest something such as a sock drive? Even a neighborhood sock drive! Make some hot apple cider, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate with peppermint, apple crisp, and a hot soup and invite all your neighbors over, the only requirement is that they must bring a package of new clean socks to donate to our homeless neighbors in the colder season. It's a bonding experience and a service project all in one! Or do a reverse yard sale! Post fliers around your town advertising the different "yard sale" sites and designate team leaders from different ends of town to host at their house. The host can get a few boxes of joe or make their own coffee and socialize with your neighbors while warming your hearts with the spirit of giving!
I'm thinking now that maybe this is going to become a county wide service project and we can ask schools to act as our host sites the day of instead of individuals within the community. WHO'S EXCITED? I just got so excited. If this interests you, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE email me or comment on this post. Especially the other area VISTAs, do you guys have a plan for the MLK Day of Service or do you want to coordinate on this? Actually I'll email you this week about this too because I think we could get a lot of the studentsCampus Compact VISTAs).
Now that I'm thoroughly STOKED about
1. National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo)
2. MLK Day of Service
3. The amazing Conn College groups helping at State Pier Rd
4. Hot apple cider
5. This day (and everyday)
6. Your existence.