I finally had my orientation at People Serving People on Wednesday the 14th! I am beyond excited to start volunteering there. I toured the building, which was different than expected size wise, and learned more about the resources available.
When I first walked onto the property I noticed a few mothers mingling about outside around the enclosed playground area. Children were running about, laughing and playing in the sun that was disappearing behind the skyscrapers. Inside of the doors, the first thing I noticed were the security guards and body scanners, which was actually quite surprising. As I sat with a few others awaiting for the tour leader, I could hear children laughing and adults mingling just outside the meeting room door.
The building itself consists of five floors, the first being the welcome desk area along with the Minneapolis Public School meeting area and some preschool classrooms, the second floor consisted of pre-K classrooms and tutor areas, the third through fifth floor are where the emergency housing rooms are located. I was actually able to tour one of the housing rooms, which is rare because PSP is normally at capacity. The rooms are slightly bigger than college dorm rooms but not by much. There is room for small storage. There is also a sink in the room but the residents share a community bathroom. On average, there are four people to a room. The beds are able to be bunked and the linens are washed by PSP staff. What I found surprising was that as each room is freshly painted after a family moves out, the leader of the tour said they do this because the littlest things [like freshly painted walls] go a long way, especially in keeping people hopeful. In the basement of the building is where the cafeteria is, and where the three daily meals are served.
PSP has many resources available to the children and adults. There is an onsite clinic, as well as education services, and job services. PSP has a “technology lab” that allows them to search for jobs, permanent homes, and to stay in contact with others through social media. There is a mobile library called “Rovering Reader” which is a volunteer program that goes through the hallways handing out books and reading to the children, children are also encouraged to keep any books that are in the lounge areas on the bookshelves.
Although I originally signed up to be a meal server at PSP, I have decided to be an donation sorter, as it works better with my schedule. I will be sorting and organizing all of the donations that come to PSP so that the items can get to the resources and designated families sooner.
I am really excited to start this volunteer opportunity, in fact just this one visit has helped me realize that I am very interested in non-profit organizations and the resources that they provide, which has encouraged me to start thinking about becoming a social worker for low income families as a future career.