Jan. 11th, 2011

I spent several hours this evening at the 1n10 Youth Empowerment Project drop-in house, observing and meeting with the Director of Programs about how I can best help out. I had originally thought that I'd volunteer on the Board of Directors, and I still think I can help in that capacity at some point, but after seeing the kids in this environment, I really think I want to volunteer in a hands-on way with the various programs, at least for 6 months or so, before serving on the Board. I want to see what 1n10 is doing and get to know the kids they're helping, before I focus efforts on management and fund-raising.

The kids tonight really struck a chord with me; there were about 25 or 30, male and female, all between the ages of about 16 to 23 or so, many were black or Latino, and most were either homeless or had experienced homelessness. They were also bright and feisty and funny and insightful. Tonight was their Activism Crew night, where they discussed various ways in which they can be activists around issues that are important to them. I was so impressed with their discussion around really heavy subjects like homelessness and immigration reform. Mostly, it was a safe space for them to tell their stories and speak their mind, without judgment. I was impressed by the staffs' and volunteers' capacity to listen and to create a safe space for these young people.

So, the plan is to sit in on a few more program nights. I'm told that, other than the kids being queer, the demographic of each group is very different, and thus the needs of each group differ greatly. The needs of the kids at the YEP house are pretty basic: a safe space, a hot meal, information about resources when needed and available and adults willing to listen without judgment. After I've observed the different groups, I can decide which I'd like to work with on a regular basis. I'm glad I went in with an open heart and mind, because I think that working in a more direct way with these kids is likely to impact me profoundly, much more so than just attending a monthly board meeting.

Hm. I didn't really mean to ramble on quite so much about that. What I meant to ramble on about instead was tarot and the fact that I'd really like to read more often this year. I read for myself fairly often, and I'm starting to feel comfortable with the cards and symbols and what they mean to me. But I'd like to read more for others and practice articulating some of the things I think and feel about to the cards with, you know, actual words that are outside my head! So, if anyone would like a new year reading (it still counts as the new year as long as we're in January!), let me know! I'd love to do a tarot reading for you!



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