Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Social Work Makes Me MAD.

Not the class, but what we study in it.

I have my final tomorrow morning so I have been doing a basic overview of the chapters; this stuff makes me squirm in my chair every time I read it.

So many people are uninsured, CHILDREN are the highest population living in poverty....
High schoolers have to deal with violence, teen pregnancy, STDs, dropping out, etc.

In the city of Nashville alone, there is a 60%-70% high school graduation rate.
ONLY 60%-70%!
That's ridiculous!
These kids need to at least get their GED to get anywhere in the least bit, but obviously they are not even motivated to make it that far.

Why are African Americans 27 times more likely to go to jail for the same crime a white man commits? WHY?!

Out of everything I have studied today, the poverty threshold, its creation and current status is the thing that rubs me the worst way. Here is an excerpt of what is in my notes:

The Poverty Threshold was created by taking the 1955 cost of a minimum adequate diet for families of different sizes and multiplying the cost by three to allow for other expenses (the diet used was the Economy Food Plan, the cheapest of four food plans issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
It has never been updated to account for changing household consumption patterns.
(getting angrier...)
The cost of child care was NOT figured into the official guidelines because the typical family in the 1950s had one wage earner and a stay-at-home mother.
The guidelines do not recognize geographic differences even though the cost of food, clothing and housing VARIES from state to state and within states. Also, the poverty measure does not take into account differences between urban areas (where housing costs tend to be higher) and rural areas (where transportation costs are higher).

There are NO economic calculations made for anyone in this country that is living in poverty. I'm sorry but this just pisses me off. I mean, come on! We all know the cost of living is different in Birmingham, Alabama than it is in San Diego, California! How do they expect people to make it? Obviously, whoever made this whole thing doesn't actually care that there are real people out there barely getting by every single day.
Thinking about this brings me back to my volunteer work at the HIV/AIDS Center. Some of the paper work I had to file contained each client's monthly income. It was insane to see the digits vary from completely nothing to near $30,000. It's unfortunate that money has so much to do with the well-being of someone's health or general success in life... even if they are hit with the same tragedy.
I don't even know where to start or what it would take to create change. It is so easy to come across people here that are homeless and come around begging for money or help getting medicine or a ride, etc. But as a female, I am extra cautious and it cramps my ability to be generous. On top of that, I want better for them than to just give them a bit of cash. I feel like doing volunteer work is the only effective way to get them provisions they need.

Sigh. When are people going to wake up and realize that it is so much better to put more money toward preventative care than to clean up all the damage after someone's life has been ruined by a poor education (if any), poverty, disease, and/or crime??

Still squirming...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

{.Restorative Justice.}~|FRECKLES|

These past few days have been absolutely amazing!! Aside from the weather getting better, life has just been awesome amidst the stress of ending another school year.

But anyway, I went to the graduation ceremony for my friend's sociology class called Restorative Justice. This class is made up of about 10 university students and about 10 men who are in the transition stage between serving time and going on parole.

It was life changing.

The warmth in that room was stunning! I could not wipe the smile off my face from the time I walked into the classroom until we got our licenses back that night.

I've never experienced such beauty in a is so difficult to put into words.

The joy on each man's face as he greeted his family and friends.
Tears that were shed as a heart of repentance verbally expressed his transformation.
Hugs and cheers.
To see a guilty man go free because his debt is now paid, is that not the vision God had intended for us as a community of people?

They are capable of repentance.
They are capable of reform.
They were made to be forgiven.
To have a second chance at life.

I was completely taken aback when I found out what some of these men were convicted of.
Surely that man did not commit murder!
The glimmer of joy in his eyes and wide smile on his face suggested the opposite of his life.

Oh how things change when a man is given the opportunity to hope, be embraced regardless of his past; to know that he has a second chance and it is a chance to succeed.


I wondered if I could trade my body with somebody else in magazines
With the whole world full at my feet
I phantom worthy and would blame my failures on the ugliness I could see
When the mirror looked at me
Sometimes I feel like the little girl who doesn’t belong in her own world
But I'm getting better
And I'm reminding myself

...Why waste a second not loving who you are?
Those little imperfections make you beautiful, lovable, valuable,
They show your personality inside your heart
Reflecting who you are


This song has been such an encouragement to me tonight.
This is probably the 20th time I'm listening to it. :)
It's not that I am the least bit lonely.
I just don't feel good enough.
I am that girl that is always put on hold just in case the prettier, funnier one doesn't work out.

The further I get into college and get stuck dealing with the constant pressure to find someone the more unappealing it becomes...
guys seem more like flakes,
expecting me to give them attention without pursuing me,
or when I do my part to generate a friendship they don't do their part or freak out!
It's like everyone is struck with paranoia:
when all I want are genuine friendships before any sort of romance, I get struck with the f-word.
"blah blah blah, friend."

In the way that comes off like they are so paranoid that I want more from them that very second.

Does it seem like I am contradicting myself?
I am just SO SICK of thinking about a possible relationship or about where this or that could be leading to.
I just want to be me-
to be loved for being the weird, nerdy, NOT funny, happy, people-loving person that I am confident God is molding me to be.

I am exhausted from feeling like I have to be someone else to be accepted.
The guy[s?] I feel the most real with could care less about really loving me.
Why am I never good enough?
Will I ever be?

I know I am enough in Christ.
He is more than enough for me.
But in my relationships, romantic or not,
I am just never enough.
This world holds a different standard to me
and I don't match up.
Nothing in this world ever feels like enough for me either.

This is an ongoing cycle of dissatisfaction.
Relationships that have nothing to do with romance and high maintenance are usually the most effective ones I have ever experienced.

Those little imperfections make you beautiful, lovable, valuable...reflecting who you are.

Maybe someday someone will say that to me.
Regardless, I will one day rest in the midst of heavenly treasures stored up in my lifetime.
Whether human appreciation comes my way or not.

Friday, April 11, 2008

So Ridiculous...

I find it pitiful to believe that THIS is what we put our hope in...

Yesterday, I was volunteering at an HIV/AIDS Social Services Center and one of the things they needed me to do was put together Safer Sex Kits. I had done this once before and never thought twice about it, my mind was too busy analyzing the fact that I was handling more condoms and lubes than I had ever seen in my entire life! But this time the guilt seeped into my heart as I was making them...I just wanted to stop and wash my hands (both literally and figuratively speaking). I don't want people to have sex outside of the context that God created it for!
To many, it seems like a childish thing to be sad about. I can't even estimate how many of those I made, but every time I tossed a finished one into a box I couldn't help but hurt for that person who is going to pick it up at the club it's distributed to and use it. I know that not taking part of it won't necessarily promote abstinence, but it just might for a few people.

I need to go wash my hands again...

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Life of Service

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy

I woke and saw that life was service

I acted and behold, service was joy"

-Rabindranath Tagore

That little poem was written by the same man, Rabindranath Tagore that wrote India's national anthem. :)
I love how everything I have been researching today has somehow tied into my life.
It's amazing how one day a person can be so far from God and the next so close.
All because he came clean before his Maker.
That's how my past 2 days have been!

I am so obsessed with this new career path God is leading me on it's amazing!! Social Entrepreneurship just sets my heart on fire with excitement. :)

A perfect example of Social Entrepreneurship is TOMS Shoes. If you haven't heard of them yet, you need to check it out right now! And if you already know of them, you should read up on the company some more :) I am absolutely in love with it- the concept is so simple yet makes a GRAND effect on our world!