Academic Service-Learning Log Date Action / Step / Activity

Elia Grenier

EDUC 510 Social Justice

June 10, 2013

4/06 10:0012:30

Preparing and serving breakfast for homeless youth at YouthCare, a non-profit that provides outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training for homeless youth. Volunteered with Seattle Works and a staff member gave us a tour of the facility and told us about all their programs after we finished serving and cleaning up

4/20 8:00-6:00

Social justice advocacy training (SU, Kelly Benkert and Audrey Hudgins) – my team focused on how to advocate around issues of poverty, we ended up looking at how to create an advocacy campaign around job training and apprenticeship

5/19 3:00-5:00

Food desert exploration with Sophie and Justin. To prep for our group activity, we actually went to four grocery stores both in food desert and non food desert areas so that the options we provided were accurate and priced appropriately, not our bias of what we thought might be available. Preparing and serving “Friday Feast,” a meal for 150 homeless individuals at ROOTS Young Adult shelter in the U District with Sophie. All food used is donated, and they hope to provide a restaurant quality meal for the patrons.

5/24 1:00-7:00

Reflections* (risks, discomfort, uncertainty, insights, discoveries, surprises, rewards) I wanted to challenge my discomfort interacting with homeless individuals—I recognize that the youth served mostly look like any other young adult I noticed that I used a lot of white privilege in the kitchen (e.g. I know what I am doing and what we should do so you should follow my lead) I now better understand what YouthCare does, and was really impressed learning about their comprehensive approach (counseling, job training, skill development). The organization is doing a lot to address the systemic roots of homelessness and not solely address immediate needs for food and shelter. I now see more clearly how this comprehensive approach is beneficial. I was surprised by the number of undergraduates in the room. I now better understand ways in which to advocate for more systemic change on social justice issues through advocacy. I am now questioning that that my group chose to look at job training when looking at addressing issues of poverty—is this because it was a more ―safe‖ area to address, and not as seemingly intractable as issues of food or housing insecurity? I enjoyed challenging my assumptions about what would or would not be available in different neighborhoods and how much it would cost. I now see more clearly the impact that the Stockbox is having in South Park, which was previously a food desert, where I spent a lot of time. It was helpful to revisit this area and realize ways in which my thinking about issues of food injustice have changed since doing AmeriCorps, and also using what I learned during that year to help advance others understanding felt beneficial. I now am more aware of the range of homeless individuals seeking food at ROOTS because I served food. I now see more clearly how mental health issues play a role in the long term homeless. I was challenged when walking by the needle exchange on the way in and realizing the impact of substance abuse on the homeless population. I now see the need for more long term solutions and support because each meal must be made out of whatever food is donated.

Academic Service-Learning Summary Reflection

Elia Grenier

EDUC 510 Social Justice

June 10, 2013

Community Service . . . describe the service you provided, who was involved, who benefited and how The primary community service I provided was preparing and serving food to homeless populations at YouthCare and ROOTS shelters. For YouthCare, I volunteered with other young adults as part of a Seattle Works team, and we were serving individuals of the same age group—youth who accessed YouthCare’s services. For ROOTS, though it is a young adult shelter, the Friday Feast is open to all, and most of the individuals who attended were older than the target shelter population. Sophie and I volunteered together with a diverse range of people, including AmeriCorps members, high school age volunteers, and other adults. In both experiences, the primary benefit was providing a substantial meal to the homeless patrons. We assisted the shelter in providing this service, and fed people for one day. I did not help address systemic issues of housing and food insecurity through my service. Academic Learning . . . specify course goals/objectives that you now better grasp/understand (articulate key learnings and insights)* I now better understand the difference between stop-gap measures and systemic solutions because I saw the difference between YouthCare and ROOTS service model. YouthCare provided a lot more services designed to systemically address the issue of youth homelessness. The social justice advocacy training helped me develop leadership and communication skills around advocating for social justice. I am now more aware about my presumptions and stereotypes about homeless individuals because I had a chance to interact with them personally. I have expanded my knowledge around food and housing insecurity and have more critically examined how systemic change is needed and the complexities in enacting that change. I was challenged when realizing how my white privilege and socialization caused me to behave when interacting with other volunteers, especially those who represented other races or ethnicities. I am now much more aware of how I often choose to speak more with volunteers who look like me (young, white, native English speakers). Civic Learning . . . explain how your service/action has influenced your knowledge/skills/attitudes about social responsibility in your professional role and field of practice (articulate your thoughts, beliefs, insights, and what you value) Though the issue of food insecurity will not likely directly affect who I work with on college campuses, so it is very interesting to look at the issue in terms of the college access pipeline. I learned in my research how hunger affects academic success. Students who grow up experiencing food insecurity are very likely to have a more difficult time accessing college. This reinforces my value of promoting higher education access, and challenges me to do more to influence systemic barriers to access and persistence. I aim to get more involved with SUYI, College Access Now, or other programs and organizations that work to break down these barriers. Realistically, I know that this may not be something I have time for while I am still in graduate school and working full-time, but it is important for me to articulate it as a long-term value for my future as a professional.