Week Nine: Greatful. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Ashlee Beaver

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              As time is winding down, it is getting harder and harder to believe that I will be heading back to Ohio so soon. These have been the fastest 9 weeks of my life, and I have Back Bay Mission to thank for that. For this week, I want to talk about a success story that I had to privilege to witness over the past 9 weeks.

               From my very first day here, there was one client that automatically became one of my friends. She came up to me, introduced herself, and gave me something of a “scope” of all the clients that were in the Day Center. She was nothing but friendly, and kind, and extremely independent.

                As time went on, and I continued talking to her, she began telling me that she was in line for an apartment, but she didn’t know if she was going to take it. It didn’t make much sense to me why someone would refuse to accept housing, but in her case, there were a lot of underlying issues that I had no idea about.

                Anyhow, over the past couple weeks, I had seen her more on the phone with her case manager and I had also seen her case manager in the Day Center (which was not usual). She told me that she had decided to take the apartment, and that she was moving in as soon as it was ready.

                At the end of this week, I got a phone call when I was in the Day Center and it was this woman’s case manager, she told me that her apartment was ready, and she was on her way to pick her up.

                It was only a matter of minutes before she came to get her, and when she did, you could see the excitedness through this woman’s eyes. She gave us all hugs and thanked us all for everything we had done.

                I haven’t seen her since this day, and I guess that is a good thing. It was just the cherry on the top of this experience to actually see a success story first-hand. Back Bay Mission really does help do God’s work, and I am forever grateful for being able to be a part of 10 weeks of it.

Week Nine – One to Remeber. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Kairah Roseau

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I had the amazing opportunity to accompany some of the Back Bay Mission’s staff to an award ceremony awarding our Executive Director, Dr. Alice Graham at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. She humbly accepted the award on behalf of all of Back Bay Mission and I was very proud to be a part of that. It is hard to imagine that I am wrapping up my last week here at Back Bay Mission. This has been a great summer filled with not only learning but fun as well. From running the Day Center to checking clients into the food pantry. I cherish every experience I have had thus far.

I am currently in the process of seeing one of our clients receive housing. He is currently homeless but is merely one step away from having his apartment. This is something that has truly been the “icing on the cake” for this entire internship. Ms. Loretta has given me personal insight into her housing program, and I enjoy going onsite visits with her and getting a chance to speak with the managers and step into her shoes. This week has definitely been one to remember!

Running the Micah Day Center. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Ashlee Beaver

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This week we were tasked with a responsibility that we had never been asked to do before: run the Micah Day Center. Ms. Debra, Ms. Sarah, and Ms. Kirsten were not going to be there on Friday, so Kairah and I were to be in charge. So, we followed Ms. Debra around on Wednesday, watching over everything that she did for the Center on a daily basis (which is a lot). When it came time for us to start on Friday, Kairah and I couldn’t have been more excited. This was the first time we had ever been trusted to run the Day Center, and luckily, we did not blow this opportunity. The clients were extremely well-behaved and everything moved very smoothly: this definitely had a lot to do with the help of Ms. Lucy in the clothing closet. This experience really shed a light on how much work Ms. Debra does on a daily basis, and it just increased the overflowing amount of respect I already had for her. It also showed me how many relationships I had built with many of the clients since I’ve been here. Most of them know my name and are now able to speak to me with comfort in knowing who I am as a person. These relationships truly make this internship memorable, and it is the exact outcome I wanted to have by the end of these 10 weeks.

Homeless Healthcare Day. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Kairah Roseau

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This past week, I’ve had the opportunity to shadow at Coastal Family Health Clinic. I attended on their Homeless Healthcare Day, a day dedicated specifically to homeless clients who need healthcare assistance. The HCH program helps homeless clients (some of whom I recognize from Back Bay) receive health care services from the clinic for free. A select handful of clients come in with any concerns they may have, and they were addressed by the caseworker. I was able to sit and speak with the nurse practitioner, nurse, and amazing caseworker who took the time to shadow and mentor with me throughout the day. The reason this day of internship at Coastal Family Health was so important to me, is because I plan to go into Public Health and Epidemiology. Epidemiology is the study of diseases in groups and communities, or possibly how to control them. My respected professor Dr. Walter Davis is the person who encouraged me to go into this field, and I love it the more I learn about it. From this trip to Coastal Family Health, I was able to see behind the scenes what goes on at a clinic and get one on one time with clients and healthcare professionals alike. I can’t wait to back next week and learn so much more!

Week Six: Energetic! A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Kairah Roseau

By | Internships, Uncategorized

To sum up week 6 in one word, I would use “energetic!” This week, we had the privilege of working with some children at a local summer camp with our community health worker, Ms. Mary. The children’s ages ranged from ages 5-12. To say the least, they were full of so much energy and joy! We played every game one could imagine! The youngest children enjoyed high energy games such as “Red Rover”, “Duck Duck Goose”, “Tag”,and “Red light, Green light”. The older children seemed to enjoy “Four Square” and “Simon Says” more. I even had the pleasure of being a “human basketball hoop” where the kids would shoot balls into a hula hoop while I held it high in the air. The next day I had the opportunity to lead some art projects. We made butterflies and dragonflies out of pipe cleaners, did water paintings, and even had puzzle wars, which the older kids really enjoyed. The last day, we made delicious snacks such as “Apple Turn Overs” and Rice Crispy Treats! They LOVED them! Even the teachers and staff wanted to take a few with them after we left. I think it was very good for the kids to to learn to create, as well as engage in play in order to show them that when you spend time on something, great things can come from it. At the end of every day, the kids would always ask “Are you guys coming back tomorrow?”. I think they enjoyed our presence just as much as we enjoyed theirs, and to me that shows that our visits were successful! I’ll admit, even after the soreness after our long days of activities. 

Week Six: “Duck, Duck, Goose”. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Ashlee Beaver

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Week six has almost perfectly catered to my aspirations later in life. We had the opportunity to assist Ms. Mary Tell with a summer camp at Gaston Point. Kairah and I were both in charge of the activities for separate days; I took over physical activities while Kairah took arts and crafts. Being the youngest of five children, I have always found myself being able to relate to young children well. I have found that if you treat them as if you are their friend and not their elder, they respond better, and they listen. This was my method when I began instructing the various groups of children, and it was very effective. Some of the activities we played were; freeze-tag, red rover, “red-light, green-light”, four-square, hula-hoop contest, jump-rope contest, and “duck-duck-goose”. I had a phenomenal time being able to interact with these children and helping them enjoy at least 30 minutes of their day. This helped me realize that I do want to work with kids in my future, and it also boosted my confidence in how well I can positively interact with them. The last day, Ms. Mary led the groups with cooking some healthy snacks, I found this day the most impactful for me, seeing that we were able to just sit down with the groups and talk. I did not think that these kids would be willing to just sit and talk, but once they felt that they were being heard and felt that they were being respected, they responded well (it also helped that they knew they had food coming). Week six was a success and I cannot wait for more.

Week Five: Time Flies!! A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Kairah Roseau

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It’s hard to imagine I’m halfway through my internship here at Back Bay Mission! The time flies by so fast when you’re doing something that you love. This week we were able to attend an East Biloxi Community Collaborative (EBCC) meeting where we discussed the topic of opportunity zones in the Biloxi area. This week also marked a lovely 4th of July holiday where I had the pleasure of being entertained by our lovely boss, Dr. Graham. I enjoy working at a place that treats you as family as well as co-workers. The Micah Day center was especially full this Friday due to haircut services. The clients were able to receive haircuts. It was great to see how the client’s confidence level skyrocket from a simple trim! It’s the little things that really make a difference in people’s lives!

Week Five: Faith. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Ashlee Beaver

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Somehow, five weeks have just flown by, and we are now halfway done.  I have made more memories down here than I even dreamed of, and I can feel myself growing as a person; both mentally and spiritually. When I first came down here, I was struggling with my faith and was desperately trying to find something to believe in. It took me about one day of working at Back Bay Mission to call back home and announce that I felt a greater power working here at Back Bay Mission. It shines through every employee, it shines through every client, it shines through every volunteer, truthfully, it just resonates through the whole campus. It is hard to call my parents’ and try to explain to them this feeling because I genuinely think you must come onto this campus and feel it to be able to understand.

I have been “church hopping” since I’ve been down here, and I had a life-altering experience at a Youth Revival service. I cannot explain the way I felt after we walked out of that service, but I can say that I haven’t stopped talking about it since.  I have my housemates, Bob and Nancy Bock, to blame for this—seeing they took me.

Back Bay Mission is showing me a lot of things, and I know that I am supposed to write about my activities of the past week, but I think this is just as important. I have never been this content and happy in my entire life, and though not all of that is due to Back Bay Mission, a great deal of it stems from this organization and those within it. I am eternally grateful and I cannot wait to experience five more weeks.

Week Four: Resilience!! A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Kairah Roseau

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This week for me was about recollection and learning. Each and every day I learn more skills in speaking to people. I have realized the value in making someone feel welcome and safe with as little as your tone and mannerisms. Many of the clients at The Back Bay Mission have had difficult life experiences, and when they come into our presence I want to make sure they can forget about those things for a while. This week was interesting because I was extremely sick. I tried to tough it out, and even successfully hit it for a while until I had no choice but to take some time off. I couldn’t help but think about how blessed I was to even be able to just go to the store and get medicine, make some hot soup, and recover comfortably in my bed. Most clients, as I’ve seen firsthand, do not have those luxuries. I thought about what they do when they are this sick with no money and exposed to the elements. What would I do? How would I feel? So many homeless clients don’t even have access to health care nor medication. And I realized the resilience of the people I encounter each and every day. This is why I go the extra mile to understand them and let them know that when they get to Back Bay Mission, they are cared for.

Week Four: Changing My Heart. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Ashlee Beaver

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It is week four and somehow, I am still being introduced to more parts of Back Bay Mission. The most memorable part of this week would have to be when I was able to shadow Ms. Sarah on her site visits. This was an opportunity for me to be able to see what her program is, along with being able to see some of our clients who are a functioning part of this program. When we visited these apartments, I was honestly shocked with the level of cleanliness that these apartments held. I was expecting the clients to struggle with adapting to living in these conditions, but from what I saw, this was not the case. I have also been able to spend a large portion of my time in the Micah Day Center. There is no real way to explain the feelings that I have when I can work with our Day Center clients. I find an immense joy in being able to just talk to them and to get to know them as people, not just a homeless population. Another beautiful thing coming out of this internship is the friendship that I have with the other intern, Kairah. Having a friend like that while being thirteen hours away from home, is making this a lot easier, and even more enjoyable than it already was. This internship is changing my heart in ways I only dreamed of, and I am only halfway done.

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