Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hello again!

This will be a quick post about some very impactful moments that occurred today!

1. Our group was able to help distribute posters around various neighborhoods for the SF Women Against Rape organization for their 10th Annual Walk Against Rape.
2. Our group recognized the incredible economic divide that can literally be seen along the same block in different areas of the city. Furthermore, gentrification is very prominent here and needs to be addressed.
3. Hattie, Miiko, Robby and I happened upon 'Vets Alley', a mural project that displayed stunning art and poetry along a block near San Fran's main downtown area. This was definitely quite an experience as many of us have relatives that are veterans and have suffered through war and the repurcussions it brings.
4. I learned that today is Transgender Day of Visibility!

Thank you and make sure to look up all of the wonderful things that the Women's Building in The Mission District does for women and children throughout the area and in the world as a whole.

Have a fantastic week!

Service Learning, In-N-Out and Beyond


Monday, March 30, 2015

Alive, Awake, Alert, Enthusiastic....

Today began with all 3 of my temporary room mates alarms going off at 6:00 A.M; it was our first day of service. We went to GLIDE, a church that serves meals to those in need. We were paired with a few groups during our time there with people coming from all over the world to help. I was assigned two places to work during our long day at GLIDE. I worked the coffee house which catered to those suffering with mental and physical disabilites and families with small children. The coffee house, while very fast-paced, provided a sense of intimacy between those I was able to help. The coffee house gave me everlasting memories that I will remember during and past this trip.

                                                     Coffee House Team

My second task was given to me during the lunch hour; I was assigned to the main lunch room to hand napkins and forks to those who ate in the main room. Seeing all the people pass through that room (some even coming through multiple times) made me reflect on my own life and the privaleges I have. I saw people ranging from the elderly to those that seemed way younger than me, and it saddens me to think that people have to do this. The reality is that something like this could happen to anyone at any time and everyone is at risk.

We then went back to the hostel after volunteering in order to prepare and freshen up for our tour of The Women's Building in the Mission District. The building itself is beautiful. The women's center provides a multitude of services to those who need it in the area ranging from technology help to job searching help. It was super inspiring to see the positive things that the building is doing. I am excited to work with that building in my future in San Francisco and to further my exploration of myself and the city.

                                               Mural Outisde Womens Building

-Robby M.
Service Day 1!

We just finished a very exhausting yet very rewarding volunteer experience at Glide, a non-profit organization that helps with feeding those that are hungry, while also running case managements, a health clinic, and centers for women and men. Our group helped to prepare and serve both breakfast and lunch. It was intensive work but some students were able to interact with guests and were able to meet those to whom we were serving lunch. Personally, this experience allowed me to really get a sense for how many people just in this area of San Francisco would go hungry if not for this center. Glide serves three meals each day, seven days a week, and 364 days of the year. They have great roots in this city and even though they have greatly expanded since their original years here, they remain a huge sense of passion and care for those that walk through their doors every day. We are luckily able to return later this week to help with more meals. For now, we are off to see a woman's center!

Thanks for reading! Keep checking back for more updates and some great reflections from other Pipers!

Have a great day!
Gunner Drossel

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hey friends!
So a quick update after dinner.
1) Dinner was delicious, we had  omelettes with tomato soup and toast.  Random combination, but I enjoyed it.
2) Our reflection today was super good!  I feel really good about my group and I feel like the work we're putting in to creating a safe and supportive environment is really paying off.

Here are the pictures, as promised in the video:
San Francisco is filled to the brim with really cool street art, some more traditional than others, but all the same beautiful and filled with culture and charm. 

This is the Hostel we're staying at, in the negative space you can see a pine tree and a house, that is the logo for Hosteling International.  

Here's a picture of us doing team building exercises, you can see on the right a glimpse of the painted ladies.  It seems cool to me how beautiful the park was, we were doing these exercises in the midst of the culture and beauty of the city and the multitude of people with their cute dogs at the park.  

Adem, Ayja, Dani, and Kenny meet a new friend in the park.  (I'm so jealous)

Our intrepid leaders that have made this whole experience possible.  So grateful to them and all the work they've done.  

My small group, we prepare meals together, clean together, and in general make awesomeness together.  Super excited to work with these lovely fellas.  #teamseal 

Thanks for watching and reading, I hope your day brings you happiness and peace! 

Sincerely yours, 

Hattie Hsu 

First Day

We started our day at 3:30am to go to the airport, so along with traveling and coming to San Francisco and seeing the city...it was a long day.  Coming off the flight, it was kind of disorienting because it was like 9:00am-ish due to time change and everything.  We traveled from the airport to our hostel and were able to get a glimpse of the city itself.  It was pretty shocking seeing all of the homeless people and how normal it seemed to be.  Prior to this trip, when I thought of San Francisco, I immediately think of Full House, the ocean, diversity, but never really how people within the city itself live.  I think it's really important that while we're here we aren't necessarily staying as a tourist, but seeing what the all parts of the city hold.  In other news, the weather is beautiful and I could feel everyone's energy and everyone's so excited for the week ahead AND I CANNOT WAIT. I couldn't be more thrilled to be in this beautiful city with such great people that I can learn from and share experiences with. :~)


We Made It!

Wow! We have had quite the experience already here in San Francisco!

Yesterday we had to leave HU by 3:30am to be to the airport by 4:00am to begin our journey. We had a safe but sleepy flight and made it into San Francisco at 9am.

Lily thinks it is too early 
Miiko needs a nap

When we got to San Fran our hostel wasn't ready until 3 which gave us a great opportunity to explore! We all had lunch together at a Vietnamese restaurant in the Tenderloin, which is the neighborhood we will call home this week, and had a lot of laughs. 
Some art work found while exploring 

We all experienced quite the culture shock due to the differences between Minnesota and San Fran. For one, people experiencing homelessness are much more apparent and visible than in Minnesota. The disparity and visibility of the class divide was also viable. Walking a block or two can change the entire population compliation. Through service and reflection we will be able to process what we have seen more deeply. 

More soon, 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Welcome to our blog!

This blog will chronicle our experience on the San Francisco Catalyst Alternative Spring Break Trip. We can't wait to share what we learn. Check back for updates! We'll be in San Fran March 28th through April 4th.