This is Rick. He is the Family Health and Education Coordinator over at Samaritan House, the shelter community where I have been volunteering off and on for the last several months. I am helping in the Adult GED program, mostly with essay writing and sentence/grammar exercises but I have been taking more of a role in helping them with their math and science studies as well (especially since they are short on tutors at the moment).
Someday, I would love to take portraits of the students (there are only four) but, at the get-go, I signed a confidentiality agreement stating I would not photograph any of the clients. However, Rick said if I asked them and we (that is, me and the student) both sign an addendum together that I would be able to take their portraits, if they were willing to do so, of course.
I don't talk much about my volunteering, both out of respect for the residents but also because, frankly, I only spend 4-6 hours a week there, and even that has been sporadic as of late due to illnesses (the residents often have jeopardized immune systems as it is) or vacations or whatever. But the four of them are all at different levels of learning with all of the different subjects so it can be somewhat frustrating at times but in the end we all have a good time.
So, today was a great session: invigorating, relaxing, productive. We have really connected, I feel, and it finally feels good to sense the forging of that link. Lots of laughs today, lots of good brainstorming. I think Samaritan House has a lot of volunteers that come and go (especially in light of this economy) and there are not really a lot of opportunities for the students to bond. This is a little sad, too, for this is something which a lot of them have failed to have over their entire lives.
This is all sort of unclear, I know. It is all so difficult to articulate, really, it is such a strange mixture of sadness and hope. Anyways, we are working on compare and contrast essays for the next week (or so). Cheers.
technical note: at the risk of drawing attention to it, i actually like the graininess here of the background brought on by using manual mode with a high ISO.