Hi guys! I hope everyone's service is going well, and I hope we can all make an impact in the communities in which we're serving. My immediate goals for the St. Francis House are immense, because although they serve a much larger population than the Neighborhood Center and offer more services, resources for the case managers and staff here are miniscule. There are a lot of small changes that can be made simply by having more bodies here to do the jobs. Just like at the Neighborhood Center, there are two case managers, a bookkeeper and an ED, all of which are doing the work of 10 people. As far as short term goals are concerned, I'm interested in completely rewriting their resource lists for St. Johns and Duval counties, which have been amended and are now covered in pen and have completely different phone numbers and addresses from what were originally typed. I'd also like to help clean out their warehouse and clothing closets, which are way too small for the amount of product they have stuffed inside. Unlike at the Neighborhood Center, their warehouse is very small and their food is kept on shelves, making it impossible to use the banana box system like we do. Food is just thrown on shelves, stacked as much as possible into the tiny cells for each type of food. Their closet for clothing for the homeless is overflowing, which is great, but the problem is its lack of organization. It would be such a burden relief to the case managers if a little more organization could happen. Of course, they can't spend time organizing it themselves, because they see at least fifty clients before lunch is served at 11am.
Long term, I hope to train myself under the guidance of Maura, a case manager and former mental health professional, to really understand how to work with the homeless and helping get them back on their feet. This is the type of career I want, no matter the struggle, and I've been told by the other case manager, Beth, that Maura is who I should look to for guidance. I've sort of been thrown into the stew pot here, because the plight of the St. Augustine homeless is so much worse than in Deland. Most of y'all probably aren't aware of this, but St. Augustine has set city-wide ordinances against the homeless even standing on street corners, let alone being fed or sleeping on them. Luckily the St. Augustine PD will send the homeless to our shelter before throwing them in jail, which is a blessing. I hope that I can take all of this immense stress and heavy work I'm doing here and bring it back to the Neighborhood Center. More than anything, I'm so so thankful to even be here. This shelter has already changed my life, and I've only been here for an hour and a half.