Assisting Adults with Disabilities

Have you ever wondered if there were any special care facilities in Memphis for adults with disabilities? Furthermore, if they provided good-quality care with passionate employees and a giving spirit? I have. On Day 2 of my Volunteer Odyssey I found the answer.

SRVS “the family answer for disabilities” (their slogan) stands for Shelby Residential and Vocational School, pronounced, “serves”. They’re all about making sure individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities receive the care they need and truly deserve. I had the pleasure of working in a couple of classrooms and meeting some very fun and exciting students. One student I had the pleasure of meeting was Sandra. Sandra is 56 years old and has a myriad of mental and physical challenges that made her accomplishments at SRVS even more amazing. Sandra was an absolute delight and taught me the many different skills learned when learning the fundamentals of arithmetic. She taught me how to count, color coordinate trees and find patterns in pictures.

Sandra teaching patterns

Sandra teaching patterns

 

Learning with friends is always fun!

Learning with friends is always fun!

Perhaps the never-ending winter has impacted the city, but not the staff’s love of their clients. Astrid French was very energetic and was very proud of the work she has accomplished as curriculum coordinator at SRVS. She mentioned how SRVS offers cutting-edge programming such as the Montessori teaching methods implemented through an innovative curriculum. I had to Google “Montessori teaching methods” and immediately saw its prevalence at SRVS. The clients seemed happy and constantly busy so maybe Montessori is the way to go. I’m no expert, but I do know what I saw was a group of people not only learning but enjoying the process of learning and for me, that’s what makes the difference.

Another student I had the pleasure of meeting

Another student I had the pleasure of meeting

 

SVRS receives many donations and books are at the top of the list :)

SVRS receives many donations and books are at the top of the list :)

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New Hispanic Counterparts

Excitement and confusion started day 1 of my Volunteer Odyssey. I was thrilled to be able to use (improve) my Spanish with people who could really use my help. I got to attend an orientation with another volunteer conducted by Jennifer Earhart, the Director of Organizational Effectiveness. After the presentation Jennifer assigned me as a front office assistant to the amazing Otilia Rodriguez. Otilia and I assisted clients with questions regarding everything from legal advice from a small business perspective to situations concerning health care and childcare programs. SW_Latino_Memphis
Clients are not required to have an appointment and if your situation is related to education, justice, or health they can assist you in-house. Latino Memphis is the premiere resource for Latino populations to receive assistance with whatever the case may be. If they are unable to help directly, they will guide you to the people who can. Seriously! One really neat fact I learned is that most of their clients come from the Binghampton neighborhood and majority were immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala (respectively). Interesting, right?

The office environment was very professional and laid back at the same time. They offered clients a clean and safe environment where they could seek the services they needed. Upon entry, each client was asked to fill out a form which is then entered into a database, both of which I helped with today. The data collected provides great insights as to the general demographics related to their clients (ex. country of origin, household size, etc.) and demonstrate a track record of assistance each client received.

Latino Memphis does an amazing job in connecting Latino families to opportunities and resources to meet their needs. I think there should also be equal importance given to the “engaged” and “active” portion of their purpose. I would like to see more opportunities for a shared existence. From my perspective, the Latino community seems very insular. Latino Memphis could be the avenue that’s used to connect the two cultures, American and Latino, within our beloved city of Memphis. Stay tuned for what adventures I find the rest of the week!

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Epilogue: Michelle Harp

Michelle

 

doylespic of me

What a week!  I met great people, got involved with great organizations, and felt like I made a real difference.  Even though my seven-day Volunteer Odyssey is over, I am not letting it end there.  I began the process of becoming a Le Bonheur volunteer and hope to attend the next orientation!  I have already tutored a group of adult refugees at World Relief, which I loved.  And last but not least, I will be on the event planning committee for Habitat for Humanity’s next fundraiser in the fall.

After working with seven different non-profits in seven days I’m convinced that many people do not volunteer simply because they do not know how.  For instance, my gifts are with people and children, but it’s a broad range – where to start, what do I choose?

That’s where Volunteer Odyssey comes in.  Readers can walk through the experience of others to help narrow down what they want to do.  Not only did I enjoy volunteering, but so many times I heard of other ways for people to be involved.  For example, pet therapy – someone who loves dogs can volunteer doing that.  My friend who has a degree in Counseling would be a great benefit to Porter Leath working with the Parent Educators.  There are ways to volunteer and do something you love at the same time! It’s a win-win.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey! I have enjoyed blogging and sharing with you as well as hearing feedback!   I hope this has helped you find your volunteer path!

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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