Friday, October 22, 2010

Economy is down, jobs are few, but persistence still pays off...

Five months ago "John" came into the center for a meal. After his lunch in the dining room he went to the Responsive Services Department on the second floor and asked to speak with someone, anyone.
He didn't want a hand out. He said that what he really needed was a job. And he wondered if he could fill out an application to work here at the Franciscan Center.  John's shoes were worn, his shirt threadbare, but clean. His fingernails were trimmed and neat. Strange what you notice about the people we work with. The details that fill in the blanks surrounding the stories.
Judy, our social worker, took John into her office and explained that we didn't have any job openings, but wondered what he was looking for in a job. She also asked if he lived in the city. John had been living on the streets of Baltimore for over a year. He explained that he lost his apartment when he was let go, due to cut backs. He now gets a shower and sleeps on a friends couch a couple times a week. He also come to the Center to grab a meal.

He also shared with Judy that he had been mugged and most of the things he had were taken. It was then that Judy asked if he had an ID or a birth certificate. Both of which he would need to get an apartment and a job. These he said, were stolen too.
So, Judy went to work obtaining a birth certificate copy and gave him a money order for a Maryland State ID. She also armed him with the knowledge that after he had lunch he could visit our Technology Resource Center and talk to Debbie. She would set him up with an email address,  help him make a resume and teach him to look for jobs.
A few weeks later John came back to the second floor and asked for Judy. He let her know that he had gotten his ID and was back to pick up his birth certificate. He was wearing the same clothing, his nails still trim, but the addition of a smile and small bounce in his step was a welcome change. John explained that he was on his way to the computer area to look for work.
Over the next couple of months John would poke his head in on Judy and give her his updates. Still no job. But working on it.
John's smile didn't diminish as he continued to mine for work. He utilized Debbie's knowledge while using the computer center and the two of them searched together. Weeks would go by and Debbie wouldn't see John. But, every now and again an email would pop up saying that he is still on the hunt, and doing well.
Yesterday John came into the center for lunch. He finished his meal and went to find Debbie. His smile wider than usual. He wanted to let her know that he had found a job. It was with a temporary service, but had potential. He also wanted to thank her for her support and help in looking. He also wanted to make sure Judy knew how thankful he was for her help in getting ID's. He said he would stop by and thank her himself, but he had to catch the bus for work.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Web of Life. From: The Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi

(This is the belief of the Sister's whose hard work is the history and the mission of The Franciscan Center. I thought its voice is universal and uplifting.)

All of creation, from the initial creative event to the arrival of humans, is a single, interconnected and interdependent whole. Over billions of years hydrogen and helium unfurl the shimmering stars and galaxies, the basic elements emerge, and eventually our solar system and life unfold. Each aspect of the creative process is necessary and essential since each mode of being depends on the interactions and transformations that both precede and follow it. This web of relationships makes it impossible to rank or separate creation in a hierarchical or dualistic manner.1 
Creation is the primary revelation and each being reveals something of the Divine. Everything, from the giant sequoia to the tiny wren, to the water in our wells, lakes and streams, to the air we breathe and the soil that grows our food, is sacred. Every person – the child in the womb, the young, the elderly, laborers and unemployed, those who are vulnerable, economically poor, disempowered, or imprisoned – is to be revered and protected. Decisions concerning how we live our private and public lives and acquire and use resources are to reflect our care and concern for the well-being of the whole of creation. In this way we affirm the sacredness of each created being and the diversity, self-identity, and communion that are at the heart of the magnificence, magnitude and mystery of creation.
We believe we are to relate to Earth, to one another, and indeed to the Cosmos, in mutually sustaining ways and that all of our systems of learning, technology, healing, economics, governance, politics, and religion, including our Christian faith and Franciscan charism, must be in harmony with the basic ecology and laws of the Universe. 

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Cooking lessons at The Franciscan Center