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Well the buzz from the bees is that the leopards are in a bit of a spot. And the baboons are going ape over this. Of course, the giraffes are acting like they’re above it all… The tick birds are pecking on the elephants. I told the elephants to forget it, but they can’t. The cheetahs are hard up, but I always say, cheetahs never prosper…

A new blog…

Hey all! I’ve create a new, specific blog. Below the is description. Please follow it if it sounds interesting to you, help spread the word, and give me suggestions for where to do it next week. Thanks!

Scenes from Sunday began on Easter Sunday, 2011 in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago. With my family far away, in an effort to tap into the sense community Easter Sunday created for me at a young age, I set disposable cameras up on park benches in Lincoln Square and Winnemac Park with a note to neighbors: Please take a picture of your Sunday.

Each Sunday, I will set up a camera in at least one gathering place in Chicago, in the hopes that the spirit and community of the people of one of the greatest cities are able to come through, by way of their own capturing. Sometime in the following week, I will post the pictures that you have taken.

Thanks for joining me in this project to capture OUR Chicago!

I watch your lips moving//
I see the words taking shape//
But love’s like a language//
I cannot translate//
I can’t afford to be careless//
And let you in//
I turn my head for one minute//
And lose everything//
Wish I had someone on whom I could lean//
Cause everybody’s always counting on me//
With my hands held real tight//
Always ready to fight//
For the few pieces of joy I have now//

So don’t let me down//

Why would you think I would recognize//
Something that’s never been mine//
-Amel Larrieux, “Don’t Let Me Down”

A day in the life…

(Note: Pictures and video from the day referenced in this post can be found in the last two entries)

I am exhausted. Like, it’s-hard-work-to-keep-my-eyelids-open, tired. It’s Friday and this is not a new feeling. I am a full-time volunteer and my stipend takes care of rent, bills and little else. Gas is creeping on $4.00/gallon and I drive regularly for work. I could easily host a pity party (oh, wait… did I just do that? lol) and be well within my rights to do so.

However, I am ridiculously lucky and my job is awesome. For those of you who dont know, I develop service-learning projects for Chicago Public School students. I’m at the peak of my busy season, and am in the office a LOT. When I found out I had to lead a project on the west side this morning at 9:00am (we normally have trained volunteer leaders at the projects, rather than staff members), I groaned. That was four hours I wouldn’t have in the office to get the work done I desperately needed to, and I would have to be on, dealing with high school students who were hosting a craft fair and dance party for 75 adults with widely ranging developmental disabilities. I was exhausted by Wednesday and this morning came much too early.

At the community site (Envision Unlimited), I set up all the materials, only to wait for a school group that was over 30 minutes late. It’s Friday!

But my job is awesome. The minute the high school seniors for a local CPS school got there, I tapped into energy I didn’t know I had, and they met me tenfold. The students were anxious to get to crafting, they had all been here as a group a year before. Bringing high school students to work with adults with developmental disabilities is one of my favorite projects. It’s overwhelming to see a room of over 75 adults with very visible disabilities, especially at age 16, but that allows for students to be greatly impacted. Once, I had a big high school football player come up to me and say, “I dont want to do this. I’m scared. They’re crazy.” I told him to stay in a group with his friends, and ease into the activities as he felt comfortable. Two hours in, he took a break from dancing hand-in-hand with one of the clients to come up to me and say, “Ms. Katie! I’m not scared anymore!”

The group today had their nerves a year ago during their first visit to the site. Clients remembered them, and the students took charge of their craft stations. They welcomed leadership oportunities, and three of my girls even made sure the karaoke and dance party went smoothly.

I’m too tired to be eloquent, but I hope you’ve gotten a glimpse into the spirit of Chicago. I’m tired and I know my schedule isn’t going to calm down. On Sunday and Monday mornings I’m bringing groups of high school students to local Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) building for senior citizens to cook breakfast and play Bingo, and Tuesday I’ll be back Envision Unlimited. (Want to be a volunteer leader? Ha! Shameless plug, but I’m serious. Lead one project every couple months. Get at me if interested.)

I love my job. I love the students with whom I work, and I love helping to be a part of their critical engagement with their own community. I’m tired, but I’m happy.

(Check out the pictures and video below!)

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