by Arthur Krieger
It’s been a long day. Frankly, I should probably be in bed right now. But I know y’all need your P-SERVE fix so…
This morning was a little less than it should have been because I didn’t get my quiet time in. I usually do some yoga and stuff after my morning shower, but I rolled out of bed late so I just did the basics (eat, bathe, dress) and ran out the door. At least I felt pretty well rested. I’m still new to the nine-to-five thing and getting enough sleep is my single greatest challenge at the moment. A good night’s sleep is the difference between a great day and hazy one for me, and I’m still struggling to find the formula for getting seven to eight hours, consistently.
Work was excellent. This week in Pre-Voc we’re stuffing plastic gloves with candy corn and fresh-popped popcorn (the result is a creepy Halloween-y hand), and the kids love it. The real highlight for me was in the residence though. After school ends I go to a residential unit on campus, pretty much a dormitory for kids who don’t live at home for some reason or another. There I reviewed my boys’ Individualized Crisis Management Plans (ICMPs) for the first time, and they hit me – they hit me hard. ICMPs detail *how* the kids act out, *why* they act out, and how to de-escalate their crisis episodes. I read a lot of hard-to-swallow stuff in those ICMPs. I thought I had a pretty clear picture of my boys, but I have only seen the tip of the iceberg. These kids have been through so much, and most of them aren’t 11 yet. Their stories and problems horrify and inspire me. I will do my absolute best to show them the love they so desperately need and deserve.
The ride home from work was a nice break because I had to hit the ground running as soon as we parked the car. I took out the recycling, picked up a Greyhound ticket from a vendor around the corner (I’m visiting a friend in NYC next weekend!), and finally got to cooking dinner for my housemates: Panzanella, a dish I’ve been working on for months. My panzanella cookery has hit a plateau actually, and what’s worse, my housemates tell me that the best Panzanella I made for them was the first one. I *descended* to this particular plateau, it seems. Anyhow, after dinner I checked my Internets and started writing this blog entry. My writing was punctuated with a wonderfully philosophical conversation with the friend I’m visiting soon, and now that I’m wrapping this post up I’M HITTING THE SACK PEACE OUT. XX
Wow. So here I am writing the first post for the Project SERVE blog. So much has happened in these first couple months – where to begin! I think I’ll just open with a little run-down of who I am and let it flow from there.
My name is Arthur Krieger. I’m 23, and I grew up in and around Philadelphia. I went to a Quaker high school in North Philly and then matriculated at New College, a tiny (and I do mean tiny) liberal arts college in the beautiful city of Sarasota, Florida. There I studied Philosophy, met many soul brothers and soul sisters, and found my faith. Philosophy isn’t exactly a clear-cut career path, hence my year of voluntarism… 😀 But at the moment my chief ambitions are (1) to maintain a robust spiritual life; (2) to stay near my family and always be there for them (i.e. in the Philly/Wilmington area); and (3) to find meaningful and sufficiently lucrative work. I am super excited about the prospect of going back to school, although I’m far from knowing what for. Dietetics, maybe? Philosophy? Law, even?! Happy as I am, my mind is constantly abuzz with anxiety about THE FUTURE. Alright, Arthur, calm down, it’s alllllll goooooood…… Anyhow, I feel compelled to conclude this bio-blurb by saying that every year of my life I have been blessed with privilege and happiness. Thank Goodness.
Now that you have some hazy idea where I’m coming from, I feel a bit more comfortable getting into the details of where I am now. Two months ago my housemates and I moved to the Project SERVE house in downtown Baltimore and it has been full of love ever since. My intentional family is beautiful and harmonious, and the house may as well be a mansion. Among my favorite times of day is right after work: I get to wind down with one or more of my housemates while someone cooks dinner in our magnificent kitchen, and then we eat together at our big rectangular table and joke around. Our home-cooked meals are invariably delicious, since we all enjoy cooking and LOVE eating. Tonight Maria is cooking pasta fazool (which she insists on calling ‘pasta e fagioli’). I mean yeah technically but whatever, right?, isn’t ‘pasta fazool’ funnier or something?
As for work. My official title is Project SERVE AmeriCorps Educational and Volunteer Services Assistant… which basically means I do a bunch of stuff. 😛 My main work site is the Maura Pre-Vocational Center in Timonium, serving kids from the two Villa Maria Schools and the two St. Vincent’s Villas on campus. (Actually there are two campuses but they’re right next to each other so…) At Pre-Voc I assist in teaching the students basic life skills, especially pertaining to food and cooking. There is no Pre-Voc on Wednesdays so I usually help out the art teacher instead, and on occasion, I cover for other teaching assistants or educational paraprofessionals who for some reason can’t be at their posts. On Fridays, my housemate Maria and I teach Pre-Voc at the Villa Maria School in Belcamp (Harford County), so I get a little teaching experience, which is neat. And four days a week I help kids in a St. Vincent’s residential unit with homework. I like filling in for the paraprofessionals the most. I get to work 1:1 with a student for most or all of the day, and that’s fulfilling, fun and really exciting. I’ve only been in the middle school classroom setting for a few days but as they say, there’s never a dull day at Villa Maria. (For those who don’t know, Villa Maria Schools serve young folks with emotional and behavioral issues, so they can get a lot more chaotic than your average public school.)
I don’t want to overdo it so I’ll stop now. But more to come! I’ll be sure to get into the nitty-gritty of daily life next time. Much love y’all.