Can we fix it? Yes, we can!

Today I participated in a unique volunteering opportunity.   I joined Sarah Petschonek, the founder of Volunteer Odyssey, along with several others at Habit for Humanity of Greater Memphis.   Volunteer Odyssey organizes a group of volunteers for a fun, monthly function, called VolunCheers.  This group got momentum last December as a way for busy working professionals to take a tour of non-profits in a way that fits their busy schedules.

As most of you know, Habitat helps people attain home ownership.  But that’s not where it ends!  Each family has to commit to help build their home through “sweat-equity”, learn how to reduce their debt-to-income ratio, and become financially stable.

Our "round" table discussion!

Our “round” table discussion!

My first thought about Habitat for Humanity was fear: I cannot build anything by hand!  Really not even in my imagination or wildest dreams!  After getting there I learned that I’d be using my brain instead of my brawn.  I participated in a round table discussion and brainstorming session on how Habitat could improve their services and attract more volunteers.  One of the suggestions that came out of the meeting was to offer classes on basic home maintenance and upkeep, such as plumbing, power tools, etc.  This would be educational for both potential volunteers and the Habitat families building their new homes.  Another idea was to make it clear to the public that not all volunteer opportunities involve construction, so potential volunteers who might be intimidated by that aspect of the program would know they could put other skills to use for this great nonprofit.

It was a great learning experience and I got to meet some awesome volunteers.  I love meeting new people and learning about how and where they serve the community.  I also learned about Habitat for Humanity’s Resale Store. It’s an enormous store that takes donations of furniture and other household items.  The items are resold to the public, and the money goes into building the homes for families.  From what I could tell, they had really nice merchandise – you can check out some of what’s for sale on their website.  I will definitely be going there to shop!

Getting detailed instructions!

Getting detailed instructions!

Lesson learned today: you do not have to be a builder, a tile layer, or a plumber to participate and help at Habitat for Humanity.  You just need a willing heart and a little time to spare.

 

 

 

This non-profit organization depends largely on volunteers and donations.  Without volunteers, the services they offer would be impossible.  To take in a family of four and provide for their needs is costly.  I hope you will go to their website and consider volunteering!

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Possible Sainthood!

The little girl of one of the volunteers. Her mom commits a lot of her time here!
The Dorothy Day House

The Dorothy Day House

The Dorothy Day House is a home that supports and provides a safe space for homeless families.   This facility is the only place in Memphis that accepts entire families without separating the children and parents.  The house can take up to three families at a time, depending on their size and needs.

At the time of my visit there was only one family staying at the house.  This is fairly rare, and, they often have to turn families away because they are full, sometimes up to fifteen families at a time.   According to the Dorothy Day House, at the last count of homeless people, it was reported that an astounding 214 families are on the streets in Memphis.

As I listened to these statistics, I heard a baby crying upstairs; all I could think was that were it not for the Dorothy Day House and house manager Sister Maureen, that small child might be crying under a bridge or overpass.  The mom could be worrying about where the next diaper or food to nourish them would come from or how she would feed her teenage son.   I was unable to meet Sister Maureen, but I am told that she should receive Sainthood because of her giving and willing heart.  She takes in and mentors these families, loving them and encouraging them.

There are many activities at the house, one of which I got to participate in which was prayer time on Sundays.  It was wonderful to know that we were praying for the health and welfare for the family staying there and the ones that would be coming, as well as those who had already lived there.  At Dorothy Day they offer assistance in parenting skills, job contacts, employment counseling, educational resources, and transportation. They also keep in touch with families to help ensure that they do not return to homelessness.

The little girl of one of the volunteers. Her mom commits a lot of her time here!

The little girl of one of the volunteers. Her mom commits a lot of her time here!

This non-profit organization depends largely on volunteers and donations.  Without volunteers, the services they offer would be impossible.  To take in a family of four and provide for their needs is costly.  I hope you will go to their website and consider volunteering!

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So many opportunities, so little time!

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Lesson time with Johnny!

What a great day at the Church Health Center Wellness Facility!  I volunteered with Child Life Education & Movement, a wellness program the CHC offers for children between the ages of six months and eleven years.  Child Life is a wonderful organization and program to increase health awareness in kids, as they offer a variety of activities and classes on getting and staying healthy!  The employees are dedicated not only to helping children make healthy choices but also mentoring them.

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Sweet baby girl with giant blue eyes!

Heidi Leyshon, a ballet instructor, who has recently moved home from California, showed me around the facility. I could hear the passion in her voice for the program and how much she had missed it.  As we talked a boy named Johnny ran up to her with excitement because he was seeing her for the first time since her return.  Johnny has been in the Child Life program for several years and it was evident how much he adored her and that she had been a mentor to him.   The Church Health Center Wellness Facility is much like a YMCA or gym facility.  The biggest difference is they get referrals from doctors and have a physical therapy department.  Much like the YMCA, members pay on a sliding scale based on salary, so it is feasible for most people to work out if they so desire.

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Taking it all in at the Sensory Garden!

With it being Easter weekend the facility was not very crowded.  There were very few adults at the facility and even fewer children.  At first this disappointed me because I am a hands-on kind of girl, but as the day progressed I realized there is always a purpose for everything.  I had greater access to the entire staff, and was able to learn far more about the many programs offered such as dance classes, mini circuits, games, yoga, zumba, cooking classes and a lesson time for the kids to grow.  My favorite part of the gym was the “Shell sized” workout equipment; also known as the mini circuit machines made to fit kids and 5”1 women like me!

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Look, it’s Shell size!

I was scheduled to participate in a class called “Active Theatre” but, unfortunately, there were not enough students.  This class would have been right up my alley, as I have been involved with local theatre.  Instead I spent time reading to Johnny and teaching him about sitting quietly and listening to all God’s sounds around us.  After the lesson, we went outside to the sensory garden and just sat quietly and reflected for a while. The garden is amazing with so much to do and see such as herbs and a fountain, which made for a very relaxing time.

I could definitely see myself volunteering here.  The facility is not a daycare; it is a program that works on building the lives of children one by one.  They work hard to develop good lessons and an engaging program healthy program to teach the kids how to be healthy and take care of their bodies.

Johnny eating a healthy baked Cheetos from the vending machine!

Johnny eating a healthy baked Cheetos from the vending machine!

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com. —————————————————————————————————————————— If you like our work, please consider making a contribution to keep it going! Want the insider story and more pictures? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! ——————————————————————————————————————————

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Home is where the heart is…

We use the phrase “Home is where the heart is” quite often without really thinking about what it signifies in the lives of people in other situations.  Today my eyes were opened as I volunteered with Kate Foster, the Church Mobilizer/Volunteer Coordinator at World Relief Memphis.   World Relief helps refugees escape war and persecution, and gets them started in their new lives in the United States.

Logan and I in the moving truck ~ fun!

Logan and I in the moving truck ~ fun!

When I arrived at the office housed in the Union Avenue Baptist Church building, I was very excited to learn the details of my assignment.  All I knew going into the day was that I would help a refugee family fleeing Afghanistan by setting up their new apartment, a job right up my alley because I do some freelance home decorating.  Naturally, I was thrilled at the idea of creating a haven for a family seeking safety, even more so when I was told there would be a baby involved.  I was also asked when I arrived at the office if I was comfortable loading and unloading furniture.  After 17 moves in 20 years while married to a Marine, absolutely!

Oh yes I can!

Oh yes I can!

I worked with Logan, a 24-year-old college student with a huge heart for serving and helping others.  Imagine the shock on his face when he was standing before me and was told that I, at 5’1″, would be helping him move an entire truckload of furniture. I quickly introduced myself and assured him I was up to the task.

The coolest and scariest part of my day was going to the warehouse that housed all the furniture to go into these apartments.  It was exhilarating because it was like having an entire store at my disposal and scary because of all the possible spiders!  Logan and I picked out lovely lamps and furniture, but my biggest joy came from hand-selecting bottles and a pack-n-play for the baby.

The storage facility!

The storage facility!

Hmmm...which tele?

Hmmm…which tele?

When it was time to move the furniture into the apartment, we were told it was not yet ready, this was very disappointing to me.  I felt incomplete by not finishing my job.  I, after all, had hand picked furniture from the warehouse and wanted to place it in the apartment to make it a home for this new family.  Oftentimes things do not turn out as we plan, but at the end of the day, I made new friends and found a new place where I hope to volunteer my time.  I would love to work as a tutor with the children who are relocated here in Memphis, teaching them new life skills and helping them adjust to entirely new surroundings.

Almost loaded!

Almost loaded!

A quick pit-stop at La Michoacana for avocado popsicles~ so yummy!!

A quick pit-stop at La Michoacana for avocado popsicles~ so yummy!!

 

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com.

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Because I’m Happy…

Filling eggs for an Easter Egg hunt! So fun!

Filling eggs for an Easter Egg hunt! So fun!

Today was a very special day for me! I volunteered at SRVS, which is an organization that enhances the lives of adults with disabilities, both mental and physical.  Upon my arrival, Astrid French, the vibrant and passionate Curriculum Coordinator showed me around.  She firmly believes in using the Montessori method of teaching, which resonated with me.  I used much of it educating my own kids.  In short, this type of education is all about multi-age groups that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity.

My sweet friend Roslyn!

My sweet friend Roslyn!

While I waited on instruction I sat with a class that was performing karaoke.  The song “Happy” came on, and when it did it seemed to me that all barriers were broken.  It was as if teachers and students were one big happy family.  The room erupted with smiles and laughter, even the staff stopped to dance and enjoy this event.  Those who were able stood and danced (along with me), and those who could not either clapped or moved in their seats.  It was a very moving and exciting experience.  In these first few minutes, I knew what my blog name must be.

In the kitchen preparing the dye for the eggs!

In the kitchen preparing the dye for the eggs!

I absolutely love all holidays, especially Easter, and go all out for them.  I was thrilled to learn we would be dyeing Easter eggs with all classes. My job responsibilities included stuffing candy in eggs, preparing the egg-dyeing room (loved this because I am an organizer) and then showing the classes how to decorate their eggs (I love being creative).  This was challenging due to the range of disabilities, but very touching and rewarding.  Seeing the looks on their faces as they watched the eggs change color was priceless.  Even in their situations they were able to find joy and something to be happy about!

Ready for the first participants.

Ready for the first participants.

As you know by now, I have a tender heart, so it was not all laughs and fun today.  The harsh reality is this: the majority of the people in these classes are either homeless or have no family.  Homelessness is bad enough, but imagine someone who cannot talk or express themselves or even hold a spoon. Even though some of the students the staff works with will never be better, their quality of living is improved.

Fun Fun!

Fun Fun!

Today I got to observe a break-though of two students: one who can be aggressive and usually unable to sit still, sat for well over eight minutes waiting for his eggs to be the right color; the other young man who is very low functioning was able to hold the spoon and dip the egg in the color by himself.  The staff was overjoyed by what they had just witnessed, and I was moved to tears.

Astrid and Adrian (a sweet man who works there) told me to quote them: “Michelle was a lifesaver today!”

So pretty!

So pretty!

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com.

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Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness!

Me, Gordon and Timorie Stewart!

Me, Gordon and Timorie Stewart!

 

Greetings everyone.  What an exciting day! I worked with Volunteer Services at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital where I was able to play barista, aka, coffee lady.  We went to every floor with a beverage cart offering patients, parents and staff, complimentary coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and a tasty beverage the staff calls the “Le Bonheur special”.  This consists of a packet of hot chocolate and coffee.  Yummy!

My partner-in-crime was a professional volunteer named Gordon who happens to be the father of Timorie Stewart, LeBonheur’s Volunteer Coordinator.  Gordon spends his days volunteering, and his heart is the size of Texas.  You know that feeling you get about someone and think, surely there are angel wings there somewhere?  Well that is Gordon, and the staff and patients love him.  He does the beverage cart every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 – 10:30 and can always use extra help!

Me getting hot cocoa ready for a patient's mom!

Me getting hot cocoa ready for a patient’s mom!

Right away Gordon and I hit off. Kindred spirits, you could say.  He gave me a quick tutorial on the beverages and we were off and running!  He immediately let me take the lead, knocking on patient’s doors and offering them and their families a warm beverage.  I couldn’t have hand picked a better first patient room!  I opened the door to find a baby with chubby little cheeks grinning at me from ear to ear who reminded me of a little Shirley Temple! “Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness!”

A very happy drawing for the hallway!

A very happy drawing for the hallway!

Needless to say my joy was also met with much sadness.  As we went from room to room I realized that many babies/children were alone because their parents had either stepped out or were at work.  As a mother, this gripped my heart and I fought tears several times during my day.  Another sad part was seeing complete and utter defeat and exhaustion on the families’ faces.  However, I put on my big girl pants, found my smile and offered them kindness and a little sugary goodness to which I was always met with a smile and thankfulness.

The cool cart made by Gordon!

The cool cart made by Gordon!

Today my biggest revelation was that volunteers are crucial at a place like Le Bonheur.  While I was making my rounds, there was a nurse stopping her work to just hold a newborn because there was no one else.  I challenge all of us with stepping out of our comfort zones and stepping up to lend a helping hand.  There are so many people in need and so many lives to be touched!

Special thanks to Gordon for making my year by telling me, that my love of people is evident!  We all need encouragement, no matter how old we are!

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com.

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“Pure Joy”

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It's tricycle time!

It’s tricycle time!

My journey at Porter Leath began with a tour by Angela Meekins, the Development Coordinator.  From the moment Angela greeted me with a smile, I knew it was going to be a wonderful experience.  Her eyes were bright and cheerful, and her voice was full of pride and hope as she gave me the historic background of the building.  I was taken back in time to an unfathomable epidemic of yellow fever and an orphanage full of children.  I immediately understood that Sarah Leath, a Memphis widower, had a special place in her heart for these children. I was awestruck at the realization that this woman made an impact in 1850 that she had no way of knowing would turn into what it is today. Now it’s a place that educates hundreds of high-risk pre-schoolers at no cost.

Now, I am the ultimate kid person and kid magnet, so just imagine for a moment how I felt when I learned that I would be hands-on in a classroom of my choosing!  As we walked towards the Early Head Start building (birth to preschool age), I felt my heart rate accelerating at just seeing the sign on the building. I chose to work in the room with a little boy who stole my heart the second I walked in the door.  His name was Jordan, and he ran up and immediately hugged me.  In an instant we connected and I knew I was where I was supposed to be for the next three hours.

My two little kiddos and magna doodle buddies.

My two little kiddos and magna doodle buddies.

Two teachers, Ms. Breka and Ms. Marquita, were very sweet and made me feel right at home.  I was immediately surrounded by five precious 2-year-olds vying for my attention.  They shared their toys and lots of hugs.  My immediate feeling was pure joy. My favorite part was when one of the children brought me a Magna Doodle.  I traced his tiny hand on the board, and every time I finished (this happened about 12 times), he would gasp then giggle at the sight of his outlined hand. This of course led to a line of little ones waiting for me to trace their sweet hands.  When it was time to clean up this became a problem with one little girl who couldn’t get enough of my tracing (oops).

Then came tricycle time.  Having been in charge of my children’s education, I naturally wanted to teach them how to ride, but the teachers were already ahead of me showing them how to pedal and teaching motor skills.  We had a couple crashes and traffic jams, but there were lots of giggles and happiness.  At the end of our time, we spotted a huge worm (gross!) that captivated the students.

Eewww! A worm!

Eewww! A worm!

At lunchtime, I was amazed at the constant organization and how well the kids followed the rules.  The lunch was healthy, and afterwards the kids brushed their teeth.  I was really excited to see this life skill being taught, as this is something many of us take for granted as “the norm.”  As I reflected on the day, I was moved by how much the teachers I worked with loved and adored these kids. It was obvious that it wasn’t just a job to them.  They clapped and were happy when one of the children realized he could pedal on his tricycle.  They were very encouraging and constantly praised the kids.

Where the moms use their points to purchase items!

Where the moms use their points to purchase items!

After a short break, I went to the Cornerstone side of Porter Leath where I met Patricia, a former Parent Educator, who gave me a lot of great information about Cornerstone’s mission.  Parent Educators work with pregnant women before and after they give birth, teaching them how to love and nurture their babies.  They have a caseload of up to 22 moms and make home visits to educate their clients on doctor’s appointments and abstaining from drugs, alcohol and smoking.  The moms can earn points to shop at a store for themselves and their child by coming to group meetings and making their doctor’s appointments.  My first thought was, “Shouldn’t they just want to help their baby?” but some just don’t know how.  While Patricia and I organized the store inventory later in the afternoon, I asked if she took her work home with her.  She said it was hard at first to let it go, but she learned to leave the work at the door.

Yes, I organized this room!

Yes, I organized this room!

I spoke with another Parent Educator, who told me her favorite part was meeting with the moms.  She told me of one mom in particular who is pregnant with her fourth child and had been given literature on talking to your baby as soon as they are born for good brain development.  When the Parent Educator met with her, the mom said she had never realized she was supposed to talk to babies and would start doing so.  She said it’s gratifying when a mom has an “Aha” moment.  This one skill would change the life of a child.  Again I was astounded at the depth of love and desire to help that the employees have.

We are all from different environments and backgrounds, and I was reminded today that not everyone has parents who teach the life skills I take for granted.  Not all people have been shown the love that I have, and I need to be more compassionate and understanding.  It is easy to blame others for our misfortune, and I’m an advocate of making change for yourself.  But today I realized that there are many who simply don’t know how.  Something that seems so “normal” to me like talking to your baby was an alien concept to a mother of four.  We all need a little Sarah Leath in us, remembering that it takes a village!

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com.

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“Prelude” Michelle Harp

"Prelude" Michelle Harp

My name is Michelle Harp.  I am the mother of three children who I have raised and home educated for the last 23 years. My children are my claim to fame. One is in flight school to become an aviator, another just left for Air Force basic training, and my youngest recently started college to study nursing. They have been my life, and I am very proud of each one.  My lifelong dream was to be a mother, and now I am an empty-nester trying to figure out what I want to be “when I grow up!”  I received my Associates Degree in Religious Studies at the ripe old age of 39, and I have a passion for volunteering and helping others. That’s what has me so excited about the opportunities my week with Volunteer Odyssey could bring.

I love working with and being around children of all ages. For the last few years I have been a nanny, substitute teacher and a private tutor.  I have been an active youth leader, mentoring and teaching children how to be successful, as well as working in nurseries with babies for over ten years.   I was a brownie troop leader for two years, a soccer coach, a tee-ball coach, and a cheer coach.  In addition to volunteering with children I was President and Vice President for Marine Officer’s Wives Club for two years.  I have volunteered for Navy/Marine Corps Relief and a Key Volunteer, helping spouses of deployed Marines.  During my time serving in all these areas, I set-up, planned, and hosted events with up to two hundred guests, as well as prepared and presented speeches to the guests.

As I prepare to start my odyssey, I have all these thoughts and hopes racing through my mind: Will I discover my niche where I find myself completely at home?  Will I be able to definitively say, “This is the kind of job I see in my future”?  My dream would be to find a job where doing what I love – helping others and working with children – makes a tangible difference.  I know that if I do not find my path this week, I will have gained so much knowledge and been on a wonderful adventure learning about all the dedicated non-profits in Memphis.  It is really a win-win, and who would not want that?

I am thrilled to share my journey with all of you this week.  I will be posting my daily blogs so you can follow along and be a part of this exciting experience.

Thank you for reading!  Know an employer that’s looking for someone who’s great with kids? Need an event planner, organizer, or fundraiser?  Send an email our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or shelly2903@gmail.com.

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Prelude: Everything has a Beginning!

Me as a Peace Corps volunteer on holiday in Guatemala

Hi! I’m Stephanie and I’m a graduate of Jackson State University and Florida State University. I’m happy to be home in Memphis but soon realized my lack of local knowledge. I searched for ways to get involved and meet those who are really making a difference in our beloved city. I’ve interviewed, lunched, and had coffee with some of the most exciting professionals in the field. This has been really great, but I’m missing a big piece of the puzzle. I have not been able to really engage with local leaders and express my skills and talents. Most often, if people are unable to associate you with some network (ex. place of education or past work experiences) it can be very difficult to demonstrate your abilities. For example, I received my graduate degree from Florida State University. It took me 4 years to complete my degree because I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and completed a student exchange at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Upon my return, many things had changed within the city (of which was unfamiliar to me), and no one knew who I was. My experiences have been absolutely amazing, but there exist a gap between how my skill set can be best utilized for the betterment of Memphis and a network with those who are diligently working to make Memphis a thriving and prosperous city. This is why I would like to engage in a volunteer odyssey.

There are many benefits from the Volunteer Odyssey program. I will have the opportunity to broaden my network by volunteering 50+ hours at 7 or more different non-profits; work alongside some of the most influential professionals in the city; sharpen my writing skills by working with a writing coach and publishing blog posts; and explore my city from a completely different perspective.

My hope is to volunteer so that potential employers and experts may know the talent that exist in native and non-native young professional Memphians and to inspire others to choose volunteerism as a means for career advancement and personal growth.

I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences and become motivated to Stand Out. Give Back

 

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“Preach, Teach, and Heal”

Alexandra is my name and copyediting is my game.

Day 7. The final stop on my Volunteer Odyssey journey. Founded in 1987 by Dr. Scott Morris, The Church Health Center provides health care for those who are uninsured. Today

Dr. Morris and me

Dr. Morris and me

it is known as the largest faith-based health center in the country and serves more than 46,000 patients at its clinic annually.  Its mission states, “The Church Health Center seeks to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and our spirits.” Nowhere does it proclaim specifically “in Memphis,” and the CHC serves as a model for other participants in the faith-health movement around the world. It hosts Replication workshops throughout the year for anyone interested in initiating their own faith-based healthcare center as well as hosts the 2014 Westberg Symposium, which will take place at the end of April. In addition to its medical clinic, the CHC provides dental and eye care, social services, counseling, and physical therapy and has trained more than 1,000 congregational health promoters and faith community nurses.

I spoke with Marvin Stockwell, the CHC’s communications director, who explained mankind

Marvin and Jeff loaded me up with great CHC gear!

Marvin and Jeff loaded me up with great CHC gear!

holds a responsibility where faith and health link up. While the CHC has a special connection with the Methodist church as Dr. Morris is an ordained United Methodist pastor, it embraces non-denominational Christian values. Marvin believes the CHC acts as the hands and feet of Christ, trying to repair the world.  The staff is here to help the community, and there is great need in Memphis, one of the poorest cities in the country. However, the CHC is not just a clinic for the poor. For people to learn how to be and stay healthy, the CHC offers a plethora of programs and opportunities like cooking, exercise, nutrition, and wellness education classes. The CHC magazine, Church Health Reader, has even won multiple “Best of Christian Press” awards and can be found at www.chreader.org.

Marvin also told me the story of how the Perea Preschool came to be. In 1999, the CHC was looking into building a North Memphis satellite office and found that first graders in the area were not as advanced as they should be academically and socially. The CHC created a preschool for 48 3 year-olds to offer an environment where the children could thrive and mature according to schedule. This year, the children from the first Perea class are graduating from high school and have caught up to their peers developmentally. Education is also a healthcare issue because the students usually perform better when they are in good health. Today, the Perea Preschool serves 128 3 and 4 year-olds. What an incredible mission!

One thing I noticed during my visit to the CHC was that everyone was very passionate about their jobs and seemed truly happy there. Marvin asserted, “It’s not a boring place to work at

Alexandra, Jennie, and Carrie supporting the "Walking As One" event.

Alexandra, Jennie, and Carrie supporting the “Walking As One” event.

all. I’m coming up on 10 years in October and I love it.” The staff I assisted, including Jeff Hulett, the communications supervisor, and other members of the team, Alison and Colins, showed camaraderie in their mutual respect for another and lots of laughter, which is critical to a healthy work life. My role amongst the group was to copyedit articles for the newsletter and I had a blast! It reminded me of my teaching days when I used to grade papers and I was so happy to lend a critical eye to help improve the pieces. Jeff was kind enough to print out all of the articles for me because I prefer to read hard copies of materials. I absolutely enjoyed reviewing the stories and interviews as well as conversing with the team. While working there, I even saw three of my friends, one of whom I didn’t previously know worked at the CHC. The other two, Jennie and Carrie, were friends met through the Junior League of Memphis’ LEAD program.

Coming up on April 26th at 2:00 p.m. is the CHC’s “Walking as One,” which will take place at the Church Health Center Wellness on Union Avenue. It’s free, and here is where the plot thickens: An anonymous donor has pledged $20 for every person that participates. What a fantastic and easy way to raise money for a phenomenal organization. To register for the event, sign up at walkingasone.org and to volunteer, contact Jennie Dickerson at 901-701-2097 or dickersonj@churchhealthcenter.org.

The Church Health Center has plans to move to Sears Crosstown in approximately two

Alexandra is my name and copyediting is my game.

Alexandra is my name and copyediting is my game.

years.  Right now, there are currently 13 buildings providing CHC services and a 10-month waiting list to become an established patient at the clinic. By moving into one large space, it will be able to serve a larger amount of people more timely and efficiently. The CHC is privately funded and prides itself on providing consistent care, meaning that patients are examined by the same doctor every visit.

I am excited to witness the progress and expansion of the Church Health Center, and some staff members even asked me to come back to volunteer with the communications team! To learn more about the Church Health Center and all of the programs it offers, visit www.churchhealthcenter.org.

Even though my week of service through Volunteer Odyssey is over, my journey has only begun. Stay tuned for my Epilogue!

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job in writing, event planning, communications, or teaching. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com or aesamsell@gmail.com.

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