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?

Read more

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.

Read more

Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home – Part 2

Our good friend Kim, who lives near Houston, Texas talks more about volunteering with the recovery efforts and community resiliency.

Donations being collected in Dallas for Hurricane Harvey survivors. Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez, AP Photo

Read more

Working in Long Term Disaster Recovery

Guest Blogger: Carla Williams, Our Front Porch Intern 2016-17

Moving to Colorado less than 5 months ago, was nothing short of my biggest life decision. I knew University of Denver was offering me a chance to be a part of an amazing program I couldn’t pass up. Within our program, we are required to partner with a local internship for field experience. That was when I encountered Our Front Porch.

From left to right, Carla, Heather and Sarah presenting Our Front Porch’s services at the Arapahoe County Resource Fair.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Mindful Eating While Stressed Out: Part 2

Here’s more from our guest blogger, Paige E. Butkus, Nourished to the Core, LLC – Holistic Nutritionist & Yoga Teacher, on how to stay healthy when dealing with stress.

Work on keeping a healthy gut flora.

In order to combat stress we need all of our defenses strong including our gut bacteria. The microscopic bacteria that live inside of our digestional tract help us with more than you may know. Scientists have labeled the stomach our “second brain” for a reason. As much as our mind influences our body, our gut influence our mind. When our healthy bacteria are out of whack:

  • Our immune system is compromised.
  • Our digestion is weakened.
  • Our mental state and mood is negatively affected.
  • Our energy levels are reduced.
  • Our oral health is affected
  • Our craving for unhealthy food increases.
  • Women’s vaginal health is affected.
drinkingwater

Image Credit: Creative Commons

Read more

Mindful Eating While Stressed Out: Part 1

Guest Blogger: Paige E. Butkus, Nourished to the Core, LLC – Holistic Nutritionist & Yoga Teacher

Stress is a part of life and how we deal with it determines the quality of our life. One way of dealing with stress is to eat foods that comfort us such as pasta, pizza, ice cream, cookies, and the list goes on. Just reading these words might conjure up feelings of happiness as carbohydrate-rich foods have been shown to increase your feel good neurotransmitter serotonin. Food has a profound impact on our lives in a multitude of ways from reminding us of our childhood to distracting us from dealing with our problems. In order to combat stressful eating, prepare yourself with awareness and knowledge.

fruit&veggie

Image Credit: Creative Commons

Read more

Yoga: A Healing Practice – Part 1

Guest Blogger: Nora Josephson, MA, LPCC, RYT-200

“Try to do everything in the world with a mind that lets go. If you let go a little you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end”. –Achaan Chah

At this point in time, most people in the Western world have become familiar with the term “yoga”, however, there seem to be many varying ideas about the practice. People may often think of comfy yoga pants, or someone who is limber and flexible or possibly a monk sitting cross-legged, chanting “Om”. The truth is that anyone can do yoga! Many of you might be hesitant to try it out, or believe that you could in fact be a “yogi”, but if you can breathe…you can do yoga! “Once you rest your attention on your breath, everything else begins to open up with ease” (Stiles, 2012).

upwardfacingdog

Photo Credit: Erin Stotts

Read more

The Stressors of Crisis on a Marriage

Guest Blogger: Brittany Siegel, MA MFT  

married couple

Image credit: Creative Commons

Natural disasters have a profound effect on marriage. A marriage can be tightened or eroded by a disaster. When the unexpected happens, couples can undergo severe strain if they are unable to comfort each other. Of course people make adjustments, but for some their life will never be the same. They will never again have what they had.

Read more