This Work is Hard

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Olivia Vanni/The Victoria Advocate/Associated Press

Coming into this internship, I did not know what to expect. I had little to no clinical experience, I had never worked with the ‘short term’ homeless population nor clients who had severe trauma, and I honestly did not know how to do case management, let alone effective case management. However, while being a part of this organization, I learned how to do all of this and so much more. I learned that trauma can manifest in completely different ways within the same disaster, and that people are the most resilient when something tragic happens to them. From clients that have anxiety and depression, to clients that just want to move on; they are all resilient and deserve help. Another thing that I learned is that I am so irritated with how our society is ran. These types of clients (short term homeless) get little to no assistance through resources through in communities; why you ask? Because these people are physically not living on the street; per the homeless requirement in Denver, so they do not meet the criteria for government aid.

How messed up is this?

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Sympathy is a Garbage Emotion

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

While working at Our Front Porch I have been able to hone some really useful skills, but one thing seems to stick out the most. Our Front Porch has given me an outlet to truly understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Some people see these words as synonyms, but they are quite different. There are four words that I would consider to be related, but distinguishable: pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Sympathy and empathy tend to be the two ideas that are intertwined the most. I would argue that empathy includes a component of connection and emotional intelligence that only comes from practice.

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10 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless

Part 2

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

In my most-recent blog post, I wrote about the fact that until I began working with Our Front Porch, I had no idea just how difficult it is to become totally stable after living in that type of unstable environment. The difficulties of trying to save money and start fresh, all while searching for house and looking for a job, are magnified with you’re also trying to support children or a family. And unfortunately, there are other factors that make the recovery process so difficult to navigate.

Photo Credit: Matt Longmire

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10 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless

Part 1

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

As a child, I remember riding in the back of a friend’s parent’s car on a brisk day where our breath fogged up the windows. We were driving through the heart of the city in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As we were covered in goosebumps, we pulled up to a red light where we saw a woman with a cardboard sign. After reading the sign describing her situation, and her two kids, my friend’s dad proceeded to say “why can’t she just go get a job like the rest of us? There’s no excuse to be homeless.” We drove past the woman and didn’t give her a second glance. As I grew up in the more rural outskirts of the city, I tended to start to share a similar mentality. I would often think about how if I see “now hiring” signs in windows everywhere, why are there so many homeless people?

Photo Credit: Daniel Nelson

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How Our Front Porch Helps

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Every person in the United States faces struggles on a daily basis. From running out gas, to losing a credit card; the human race struggles in every aspect of life. But what happens when a natural disaster hits and you lose everything you own and love? Would you be able to pick up and move on, know what to do, or be able to function soundly? I know in my personal life, I would not be able handle the most basic of everyday tasks. People are resilient and can handle so much, but sometimes they need help in this crisis period. I say this, because this is what I do in my internship: I help individuals who have lost everything due to a natural disaster.

Residents wade through floodwaters in Beaumont Place, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/Newscom

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home – Part 1

In this next blog, Kim, a friend of Our Front Porch who lives near Houston, Texas shares her experience of Hurricane Harvey and how it impacted her day-to-day life, her family and her community.

A home in Spring, TX during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP.

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The Realities of Evacuating

Our Front Porch interviewed one of our supporters, Kat Kilpatrick, who had to evacuate for Hurricane Irma. For those of us who live in landlocked states, here is what the realities of evacuating look like. 

Kat Kilpatrick and her family.

Were you prepared to evacuate and what things were most important for you to bring with you?

We heard about Hurricane Irma arriving in a few days which gave us some time to decide our plan, pack and come to terms with the fact that there was a natural disaster on the way. I packed the essentials for my husband, myself and two small children. I packed clothing, diapers, snacks and our most important documents. I thought about our items at home and hoped they would be ok but most utmost concern was for our family, things can be replaced.

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Three Things I’ve Learned from Being Part of a Start Up

Guest Blogger: Sarah Stone, Our Front Porch Intern 2016-17

First of all, I can’t believe this internship is half over. I feel like just yesterday, I was completing orientation and getting the OFP 101. I took the time to reflect over the holiday break on the growth and development that I have made as well as Our Front Porch.

Scenes from a start up.

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Compassionately Listening

Listening with compassion sounds pretty straightforward, but it is often more challenging than you think. I have had lots of practice, especially when I’m working with disaster survivors, and I still have plenty of room for improvement. I have often gone back to this Dalai Lama quote as I think it so well describes how to truly be compassionate:

“Usually, our concept of compassion or love refers to the feeling of closeness we have with our friends and loved ones. Sometimes compassion also carries a sense of pity. This is wrong. Any love or compassion which entails looking down on the other is not genuine compassion. To be genuine, compassion must be based on respect for the other, and on the realization that others have the right to be happy and overcome suffering, just as much as you. On this basis, since you can see that others are suffering, you develop a genuine sense of concern for them.”

~ The XIVth Dalai Lama

Heather responding to a disaster as part of the Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team.

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When Disaster Strikes… on Vacation

Guest Blogger: Sheila Babyak

Vacations can be the most anticipated, fun-filled events of a lifetime. We spend all year deciding where to go, how to get there, what we’ll do, and budgeting our money to be sure it is a vacation of a lifetime! No one ever thinks that their vacation could be disrupted by some sort of an unexpected event or disaster. While we can’t plan for unknown disruptions or disasters there are things that we can do to prepare ourselves in the event a situation should arise.

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Where the fire started. Photo Credit: Sheila Babyak

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