Monday, March 24, 2014

First Day of Service: Glide (Steven Beardsley)

Today was our first day of service. We woke up at 7:00 am and went to Glide, which is a nonprofit organization that was three blocks away. They provide a variety of services to people in the Tenderloin district including: HIV testing, permanent housing (a new and exciting program for Glide), food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), etc. They also provide 2,200 meals a day and have 96 or so volunteers a day.

It was a really fast-paced but exciting experience. Half of our group worked in prep cutting vegetables and the other half got to work in the kitchen and the Coffee House in back. I worked in the kitchen with Taty, Mackenzie, Emily, Olivia, and Taylor. We were directed by Josh who was part of the staff and direction for the shift. We loaded up trays of food into large brown tray storage units that managed to fit up to 180 trays. Even though we loaded up a lot of food ahead of time, we still had to run back and forth to the kitchen to get more trays. There was always something to do, and it was great interacting with the people who came in.

I think that the experience was both challenging yet extremely rewarding. After reflecting at night, I realized that some people felt self-motivated. A lot of people mentioned doing the work for the community as opposed to putting it on a resume or getting credit. I think that this also emphasizes Glide's Mission since their Volunteer Coordinator, Eden, talked to us about how Glide works to create a safe and supportive space for people in the Tenderloin District. Glide really works to provide services to people regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and other intersecting identities. Eden mentioned Maslow's Hierarchy of needs where the basic needs, food and shelter, form the very bottom. She really pointed out how Glide provides these needs to people experiencing homelessness and people on the cusp of homelessness. They help a variety of people struggling to meet their basic needs so that they can eventually achieve self-actualization without expecting any recognition or monetary gain.

Glide's mission and doing service at Glide points toward the importance of treating everyone with respect. Glide doesn't question people who come in for food or to use their services. They simply provide the services and do their best to help the people who need it. They build trust along with creating a safe environment where people can come together and enjoy each other's company. I believe that Glide's mission is important because sometimes a lot of people who experience homelessness/struggle to meet their needs do not have the support of friends and families. Glide fills in this support, which I think is an important attribute for any organization that promotes social change.

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