03 May 2005

living and breathing crisis

I learned some new tasks at work today. Because they had to be done and there wasn't anyone around to help. The clients in the shelter have thus far mostly viewed me as the nice one who doesn't tell them what to do and who works with the kids. Ya'll have to understand that I'm the youngest employee in the shelter. Now I do all of the other duties in the shelter as well. I do cleaning checks of all things! Which makes me an enemy to those who are looking for one. And some of the women are a little bit seedy. A new client came in today, a little shaken and shy as is to be expected and I quickly learned how to process all her paperwork. When I took her to her room, one of her roommates told me to take her to another room because they weren't going to make room. This woman is notorious for scaring her roommates. I turned around and as authoritatively as I could told her to move her stuff immediately. I could see the challenge flash in her eyes. But I'm not one to back down. We stood and looked at each other for a moment. She was sizing me up. I was running through all my non-violent physical restraint training in my head. With a new respect for me, she turned and walked away.
I also received two crisis calls and had to screen the clients and refer them elsewhere. Which is something I was supposed to be trained on yesterday, but there wasn't time and there wasn't any choice but to teach myself today. I just asked the callers to stay with me and not hang up as I looked through binders, resource books, etc., to find the appropriate info. It's all there in the office and well organized, I just hadn't been shown where yet. One of the callers was 8. I answered and she said, "We don't have food. My mom doesn't speak english. Can you bring us some food? My brother is crying. We're really hungry. Dad's still in jail. Are you coming right now?" I tried to get her address so I could get CPS over there ASAP, but her mother was probably afraid of deportation and she wouldn't tell me where she was. I gave her the number to a food bank. I'm getting used to my heart breaking over and over every day. We're sadly under staffed and my supervisor is stretching those she's got as much as she can. I don't mind. It's more money. And good experience.


Tiff said...

Bless you for what you ARE doing. Think of the differences you DO make on a regular basis - and this isn't just at work. :o)

Tiff said...

Leah babe, what's your email add? I can't remember. Will you send it over to mine if you don't want to post it?

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