Monday, July 21, 2014


I am currently working with the Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless.  

For the last week I have been doing outreach, recruiting churches and helping to organize the IDignity Volusia event that will be taking place in Daytona Beach on August 7.  For those who do not know what IDignity is, it is an event that helps homeless and disadvantaged individuals get their social security number, birth certificate, state ID, and driver license, all things that would be needed for applying for jobs, or getting bank accounts. After having some complications we have a group of churches who have agreed to help with outreach, and a church to host the event.  Unfortunately we have not gotten as many volunteers as we predict will be needed, but both Mike, the outreach coordinator, and I will continue to work on recruiting volunteers. Our goal is to have most volunteers from the Daytona Beach area, so the community feels more connected and are more aware of the impact they can make in their own city.
 I have really enjoyed working with the staff at VFCCH and focusing on the outreach.  As most of us know, I am usually a very quiet individual, but this work has put me out of my comfort zone.  I am almost constantly working with individuals in a professional environment.  Mike has been working with me one on one, helping me build my confidence and helping me learn the administrative roles of planning a large event.  I am looking forward to continue working with VFCCH throughout my Summer and the school year.


Larry Swartz

Rehoboth Children's Home

Week 6

Wazzup everybody! (Yes I really said that but it's too late to turn back now.)

Brace yourselves. More unfunny jokes are coming.

So as this week wraps up it's really starting to sink in that I'll be leaving these kids pretty soon. While I'm excited to get back to school and see everyone, I'm definitely gonna feel the void of not seeing the kids. These kids have brought so much happiness to me during my time here. It's truly inspiring considering that these kids have all experienced some kind of tragedy or abuse in their lives. That being said, this week I worked on a number of things, chief among them being writing updates to each kid's history. Having read through each case, I have a deeper understanding to everything that they have overcome and why they might act up sometimes. However, I've decided to highlight some of the funnier moments in the week.

As I mentioned in my last post, Chici left for the U.S this week, leaving Victor to fend for himself in the kitchen. As an act of kindness, the house father, Adrian, offered Victor some breakfast. Which went something like this...

Tio Adrian: Don Victor! I made some duck eggs, do you want some?
Don Victor: EW.

Which was immediately followed by uproarious laughter of all those present.

I´ve really been enjoying the kids this week and trying to take everything in. And these kids are hilarious. We´ve gotten into the habit of telling jokes and funny stories during cleaning time to make things more fun. The little ones say the funniest things without even realizing it. For example...

Noe: Tia Bella do you know the Dora the explorer theme song?
Me: Dora dora dora exploradoraaaaa!
Noe: *unintelligible screech of excitement*

Lastly, I´ve gotten to know the staff around here pretty well too and we´ve begun to understand one another´s humor.

Tio Pedro: (Rather casually) Bella did you clean this window?
Me: Don't raise your voice at me!
Tio Adrian: Stop yelling at the poor girl.

I´ll definitely miss them too.

I spent the weekend with the girls who were only slighlty less behaved..... teenagers.....
But we had some good times playing charades and scattegories.

All in all it was a good week.

B love,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 6: IC & Microbio

Subsequently to recovering from my jet lag (mostly), I returned to IRMC to, primarily, jump back into my infectious control work. The auxiliary (where regular tasks are sourced) was, and continues to be, extremely "slow" as the off-season continues. Also, the cancer patient navigator held two meetings while I was out of town. So, I only helped in the auxiliary here and there and with the patient navigator for a few hours this week. 

Nevertheless, I have been getting more involved with the infectious control project and was also eager for some more career insight. I spent the majority of the first day collecting and compiling data for IC.However, the second day, one of the IC staff members told me that I had permission to visit the microbiology lab! I spent the day almost entirely in the lab where I observed, discussed, and assisted with patients' lab samples. It was fascinating! And I was very excited to be familiar with many of their tools from my experience in labs at Stetson. The “media,” which I call “petri dishes” in labs at Stetson, are isolated growing surfaces for the samples. The gelatinous growing base contains 5% sheep’s blood because it’s characteristics enable an easier growing environment. Human blood has characteristics, such as more antibodies, that change organisms’ growth, making observation and identification more difficult. There are sheep that are raised for the sole purpose of extracting their blood for these “media" dishes. It is interesting to me, but maybe not to all. Anyhow, I learned details like this throughout the entire day from shadowing a woman who had worked as a microbiologist at IRMC for 35 years! She had even performed phlebotomies on sheep before her lab career. All in all, it was an exciting day for me as I experienced a lab working environment. Many labs are different, of course, depending on what is being observed or researched. Yet, in considering research as a career, it was great to spend time in a real lab environment for a day.

The rest of the week consisted of more IC data collection, making posters reminding faculty to use proper precautionary and sanitation practices, and spending time with the IC staff. I met some new staff members during this time and offered my help with anything they may need. Ideally, within my last week at IRMC, I will have some more exciting opportunities as I help serve the hospital. For one, I will be helping the cancer patient navigator with more cancer patient meetings and I expect to see a large jump in the hand hygiene compliance based on the behaviors I have seen this week. And a doctor this past week invited me to come watch surgeries any time, so I will definitely be taking advantage of that! 

Until then… B-love!

P.S. Here's a picture of me collecting data.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rehoboth Children's Home

Week 4

Hey all:

This week I mostly helped with the girls. The house mother had time off so I stayed at the girls' house to take care of them and make sure they were doing their homework and chores. This time was a bit different than last time because I've gotten to know the girls better and we feel more comfortable around each other. When the girls finished their work, we were able to have some free time and ended up having a disney movie marathon :) .

This week I also spent some time creating a video for Chici to use when she visits the U.S next week. The video has pictures of every kid as well as their age. Chici will be meeting with current sponsors & donors as well as raising funds for the home.

On a more somber note, there is another children's home in Parramos that is specifically for kids with special needs. On Sunday one of their little ones passed away because her lungs filled up with water :'( The directors and kids at Rehoboth were very sad and we shared a moment of silence for the little girl.

Rehoboth Children's Home

Week 5

This week was much of the same... my morning office work was mostly working on a video Victor wants me to make that will explain the history of the directors and how the home was founded. They already have an existing video, which Victor wants me to adapt so that it is up-to-date with how things are run at the home currently. I've been working all week on getting footage and have already started editing. When the kids get home things liven up and the afternoon is spent keeping the kids on schedule.
This week I had an additional task of cleaning and organizing some of the back rooms in the home. This turned out to be a wonderful thing because I discovered some guitars in one of the storage rooms and was able to borrow one for the rest of my time here :::::)


As my time here is coming to an end I am already starting to miss the kids and wish that I could continue to be a part of their lives. As a result, I've been considering sponsoring one of them and have gotten my roommates on board so that we could split the cost and it would be much more manageable. However, choosing who to sponsor hasn't been an easy task because I know & love them all. Nevertheless, these kids have become a part of who I am and I really want to be able to give something back so I guess I'll have to decide eventually xD. But I have narrowed it down to three so far.....

Later goonies.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Flagler Schools Summer Camp Week 4

Hey y'all!

This week was obviously a short one (go fourth!) so this post will be a little shorter than my next one.  We tried to make this week as smooth as possible because we had the dreaded beach field trip on Tuesday with the other three Flagler Schools camp.

The kids and their counselors from 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8 are all fine people, but it's really difficult all being in the same place at once. I made the mistake of having my kids bring their backpacks along with us, which upset my site-managers and coworkers a little. The way I saw it, if we were making them bring towels, lunch boxes and sunscreen along with us, at least give them something to bring it in rather than trusting them to keep it in their hands on the bus and then once we arrived. I prefer to give my orange group their Big Kid challenges at camp where there's less detrimental consequences than permanently left-behind belongings. We went to the beach first, and after assembling a huge canopy tent (like a pro!) we went in the water for about 30 minutes. It was really rough that day, and although I helped them all up and sent concern for their safety, I couldn't help but giggle a little when the big waves would roll through and they'd all go down like little bowling pins. None of them were hurt or had trouble swimming though, and without fail they all came running back to the deepest possible section after tumbling. We make a box out of our bodies with the fourth wall being the shore, and only went in as far as my thigh-level (which is obviously not very deep at all). After pulling them all back out we headed up on the beach for some sand play and then walked about a quarter mile up the sidewalk back to a small, air-conditioned community center for lunch and hotdogs, and then a nice afternoon on the playground and in this gorgeous field. The breezes felt so nice and it really was a much better day than we're used to for beach day.

The rest of the week had no real major events, aside from a case with a little girl from another group who continues to swear one of my boys put his hand down her bikini bottoms at Daytona Lagoon. While he has admitted to it and has since been punished, her mother barrages us every morning with claims that her daughter is practically being raped at summer camp, many of the allegations we have proof never occurred. Now instead of having our afternoon movie in our own room safely within the interior of the school, we now have it on the bright, hard stage floor in the cafeteria. This little girl is also made practically miserable each day of camp because her mother insists she play with any boys and as a result must be kept next to a counselor at all times. We're struggling as a camp to decide how to help her have the best summer possible, but right now she has put us in a difficult position by lying to our faces and then running and telling her mother different stories. I'm learning quickly and in a much more serious context than ever before that parents WILL go to any lengths to protect their child, even if the results they wish are irrational and practically impossible at the expense of their child's happiness. I'll add more as it develops.

To end on a happy note, our kids created really beautiful firework paintings Thursday evening out of pipe cleaners, so I thought I'd share one here:

Happy 4th~!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Honor Baslim - Week 4

Hola amigos!

Well this last week I got to work with a kid from a local Boy Scout troop - he's working to get his Eagle Scout membership or whatever it's called so he chose our program to do a project for. He approached the director of our program with the purpose of building something for us so he will be building a shade structure next to our arena for parents to sit under when it's hot out. It was cool to meet someone so young (ok he was like 15ish) that has such a passion for his organization - it reminded me of some of our Bonners.

Lessons this week were good - though we were down a staff member so we all had to pick up the slack. One of our horses Mark is like 35 years old - which is like 90-something in human years, and
he has spent his entire life as a lesson horse. Teaching children of varying age, skill, abilities forever - and he loves it and the kids. It's funny cause he's not really mean per say but he's definitely grumpy - he just wants to be left alone as much as possible, unless of course if it's time to teach. In his lessons Mark perks right up and gets right to work; though he isn't anymore Mark used to do horse shows almost always placing. The point in me writing about Mark is to make a point - I know some people involved with Bonner have not always seen the benefits to volunteering in animal related organizations, but it's not as simple as that. Yes there are times with these types of organizations that we are doing "non beneficial" work unrelated to people, but we do that work for the animals so that then they can preform some sort of task. We clean the horse stalls so that the horses can have a nice habitat when they're not working. We groom the horses to get them ready for their lesson. Then we get to work with the horse to help someone, but we couldn't have gotten to helping this person without helping this animal. It's important to always try and see the bigger picture in most things in life, don't get bogged down in the details - but don't forget them either.

Well, that was a bit of a tangent - but still relative!

Will write again soon, B<3