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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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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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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.

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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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How Much Should Housing Cost?

The generally accepted rule of thumb for housing costs is 30% of your income. Do the math. Where do you fall on the spectrum? If you live in the Denver metro area and are renting, that percentage has been steadily increasing over the last few years. According to Housing Colorado, one out of every four renters in this beautiful state spends more than 50% of their income on rent. So what do housing costs really look like?

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Image Courtesy of www.makeroomusa.org

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Dealing with Stress after a Disaster

Guest Blogger: Maggie Babyak, LCSW

They say that one of the top three stressors in life is moving. Your normal routines are disrupted, there are weeks of packing and planning to ensure that perfect move day. Then a furniture delivery is late and your carefully planned move day is disrupted. You become angry with the person on the phone who is just trying to help, you become snappy with your significant other and your stress level skyrockets. However, by the end of the day you are in your new home filled with your possessions, cozy in your beds and your family is safe and fast asleep.

Now imagine making eggs on the stove for the kids, rushing around packing their school bags, checking your work email, and getting the dog out the back door for one last run. Then you hear a beeping sound and turn around to see your kitchen on fire. Instead of scheduled moving trucks you have first responders running to your home to put out the fire. That night you and your family are sleeping in a motel or neighbor’s basement. You have nothing but the clothes on your back.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

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What Does Post-Disaster Housing Look Like?

Whenever I mention my desire to build post-disaster housing, I get a funny look as most people say, “you mean like the FEMA trailers?” Images like this one were far too common after Katrina and have been burned into our memories by the media. So first off, let’s dispel that myth.

http-::www.pbs.org:newshour:rundown:in-louisiana-toxic-trailers-return-to-house-oil-workers

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Christmas Vacation: Don’t Let it Happen to You!

We have likely all seen the movie Christmas Vacation, can likely quote the memorable parts, and cringe when Cousin Eddie empties the trailer septic tank into the storm sewer. But watching Uncle Lewis ignite the Christmas tree is absolutely the highlight. But that could never happen, right? Or could it?

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Scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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Disaster Strikes…What to do First.

You wake up in the middle of the night to a smoke alarm going off, a loud knock at the door, or the smell of smoke… within seconds you have to get out of your home as quickly as possible. You grab your loved ones and pets and run outside. If you’re lucky, you grabbed your cell phone or wallet on the way out. Before you know what happened, you are standing outside as the Fire Department battles the flames. Everything you own is burnt, melted, or water logged. Now what?

Image courtesy of CC

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