Week 19, Day 6: SRVS-ing the Memphis Community

Day 6 started at 10 a.m., which allowed me to sleep in a little later. I don’t know why I feel the need for more sleep. As of late, three-hour naps have sneakily worked themselves into my daily routine. That aside, I headed out to explore my sixth nonprofit to explore, SRVS–an agency that offers programs and assistance to disabled men and women, no matter the severity of the disability.

I arrived at SRVS and met with Lindsay Weaver. Lindsay is the SRVS volunteer and activities coordinator. She’s also a Volunteer Odyssey alumna, which helped her score her current job. Once again, volunteerism proves to help awesome people net awesome opportunities!

The day I volunteered was a quiet day at the SRVS community, and I spent most of my time observing a couple of classrooms and being a lunch buddy. SRVS clients are divided up into classrooms under the guidance of a SRVS staff member or two. Each group spends their days doing different activities, learning new skills, and eating lunch together. Having participated in Volunteer Odyssey, Lindsay knows both the importance and the challenges of getting photos, so she offered to help out by taking all the photos. Thanks Lindsay!

For the first part of the day, I hung out with Tony and Ralph as they worked on color-sorting skills. The classrooms look similar to ones food at schools with tables and chairs, fun games, and color posters.

DSC_3906Tony and Kat color-categorizing some colorful plastic insects.

I had arrived close to lunchtime, and soon Lindsay whisked me off to the dining hall, where the first group of classrooms ate. The dining hall reminded me much of a typical school cafeteria –lunch boxes out, teachers monitoring the aisles, and plenty of jokes and laughter.

During lunch, I had the privilege of meeting Adrian, a longtime SRVS staff member and all-around good guy. While Adrian has held a variety of direct and indirect service positions, he currently works directly with clients, and anyone watching him can tell not only how much he enjoys his job, but how much the SRVS clients and staff enjoy his presence.

After lunch, I visited a second classroom where SRVS staff member Annette led students to a model apartment setup where the group practiced making a bed, folding clothes, and ironing before she quizzed them with flashcards of typical household items. My volunteer time at SRVS came to an end, and I left the model apartment to chat with Lindsay about my experiences.

While programs are in place to help disabled children attend public school, more are needed for when these same students graduate and are left without that support system. SRVS allows people with disabilities a myriad of opportunities by teaching life skills, providing community, and, at times, job placement. SRVS is one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind and I’m excited to watch it continue its good work!

Thank you for reading! Like what you read? Kat Franchino is a freelance writer and an avid blogger. She will happily take on any writing challenges. Contact her at katfranchino@yahoo.com or jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.


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