3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

3371 Chattanooga Valley Road Flintstone GA 30725 706.820.2833

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hope Intern Blogs through Summer 2009

Renee Barnett, one of Hope's summer interns, is keeping a blog about her experiences this summer! If you would like to find out more, check out her blog!

Observations by a Hope Intern

The following is a journal entry of observations by Hope Intern Christina Canche.

"This week I saw community development principles of ownership come out in the way the church members acted with community members. There is an apartment complex for disabled people a little ways away from one of the churches with which I am working this summer. The church is really interested in building relationships with community members of the area, and one way they are seeking to do this is through getting to know the people who live in these apartments as friends and actual people, and not as service projects. They have worked at the apartments in the past with things such as community suppers, ice cream socials and having the youth bring over groceries to the residents of the apartments, but they want to do more, and do it in ways that make the residents feel empowered. I got to sit in on a meeting about planning for another event: dinner and a movie on the lawn. This event that is getting planned for later this summer got me excited about the ways the church is interacting with the members of this community.
For one, when we showed up at the office, a woman with a disability greeted us at the desk. I was told she ran the office but also was a resident there. Seeing her handwriting, the way she formulated sentences and a few other things, I saw that although she had an impairment of sorts that perhaps slowed her down a bit, she was still really running the show, and doing a great job of it. The cool thing I noticed was that the church members didn’t come in with an attitude of “we are here to do this wonderful thing for you,” but rather they asked her to make the final decisions on things. Her ideas were actually listened to and respected, not just listened to for politeness’ sake.
In addition to this, when we went outside for her to show us where the best place for tables was, the church members continued to show respect to other residents by shaking hands and carrying on conversations with those who came to say hi. They also asked their opinion about how many tables would be needed, the kinds of tables and number of chairs. The number of chairs was reduced when some of the residents said they had chairs they would be willing to lend for the night. When one man heard we were making a meal, he said he’d like to help out by making turkey and stuffing. One of the church women said, “Wonderful! We’d never say no to food!” I think further plans were made after that for him to make the turkey. I think that if the attitude of letting the community take ownership of the project continues, the potential for good community development to take place exists in this apartment complex."