Serve Well Blog
Entries tagged 'The Krista Foundation'
For our second annual art e-news, we asked Krista colleagues to riff on our conference theme, "Holding Together". Read on to see and hear how Spencer, Chasity, Richard, Linda and Doug captured holding together in the face of difference. For larger images, see slideshow at the bottom of this post.
Stay out of the way
Made an example out of
Don't be caught taking a break or you will determine the work ethic of all people who look like you. So instead, I work myself to death.
Smile, even if you're tired
Pretend to be interested in everything all the time.
Survival is brutal- these lessons are vital.
I can never acknowledge the pain that threatens my life.
No permission to speak truth. Truth invalidated in every way possible- but so subtle.
Will my truth get me fired? Will my truth cancel all of these wonderful opportunities?
Have I obtained these opportunities because I am well trained in the art of relating to and pleasing the white faces that surround me.
They tell me I'm different- than the black people they've known previously.
This cuts me like a knife as I remember- I am no different because my people and I are ONE.
I am told speaking white is a gift.
But I miss everything that was stripped in order to maintain this pale skin face lift.
I've been brain washed, emotions repressed- colonized; my psyche occupied.
Because of this, I've separated myself from the people who sustain me,
From the mothers and fathers who raised me,
From the people who embody divinity....
No longer afraid of darkness, like America's taught me.
So I embrace the black infinity- which is the Alpha and the Omega.
I am an individual and stand with a community that the most descriptive words cannot describe its beauty and wonder.....
I often wonder how many shades of black and brown exist.
My heart is full as we together resist and RECLAIM all that was stolen
To my people, I am beholding
So I exist.....in this space as a testimony with no limits
Aware that every breath is an act of resistance.
The act of assemblage holds together disparate objects, creating new meanings. In the same way, I am holding together memories, ideas, people, and moments as layered lenses to create new perspectives.
This specific piece asks the question, "What is the potential for architecture to...?" I am on a journey to search for the remaining pieces to this question-
...create spaces for understanding
...foster community ownership
...empower communities of color
You will learn that home is not a country or a city.
It does not lie between soiled sheets, where youthful giggles rise and inside jokes are created.
You will learn that it is not an innate feeling and does not necessarily deal in familiarity.
Home is not in the motherland. with the people that hold the skin tone of your kin.
Home does not reside in the place where fear was taught and your heart first broke.
You will learn that home is not another person. Your search cannot be found in nostalgia or recovered in replayed images and regrets.
Home is not a place.
Home is not a person.
Home is not your momma, baby brother, or grandma.
It's not your college town.
It is not your bed after a long day of surviving.
Home is you.
There's nothing profound, yet something so magical about that discovery.
Hold onto it.
When your home feels like a prison, revisit this lesson.
When home is something like a dry and barren land, write it letters. Let it know that you miss its comforts. and probably haven't shown it all the love it needs, but you're trying.
Cook it dinners that make it sleepy, feed it food that gives it energy.
Let it sweat it out when the pressure gets so much that it wants to leave its frame.
Show pride in it.
Boast about it.
Take a tour every once in a while. You might discover somethings you didn't notice.
You might find something that you forgot was there.
know that home is not a place or a person. but home is.
We are excited to welcome the 2017 Krista Colleague Cohort! Read more about each Colleague and their area of service here.
Facing death everyday while working in hospice for a year took Bridget Hinton ‘14 "to a deep place of mystery," she says. "Living day in and day out with sadness was a challenge but I also saw a lot of hope and love."
For the spiritual care office of Providence Memorial Hospital in Hood River, Oregon, the Jesuit volunteer would visit people receiving palliative care, drive them to appointments, run errands, do a little housekeeping, and often just sit and listen.
In the deepest, darkest moments, when she wasn't at all sure what to say, "I tried to put myself out of own comfort zone and just hold space, be comfortable with slowness and silence, even when I didn't know exactly how to relate to someone three generations beyond me."
Ongoing cross-cultural training with the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship that includes recognizing the significance of generational, socio-economic, geographic and cultural nuances helped Bridget in these moments. Recognizing how her urban, diverse upbringing had shaped her lens helped her have empathy for the circumstances of her patients and listen without making assumptions, even when some of what she heard offended her.
She came to see that phrases like "they are here to take our jobs" reflected the frustrations of the rural and economically challenged Columbia Gorge community. "I would never use the words ‘I disagree' but sometimes I would push back slightly," she says. "I had to engage in conversation, but I tried not to prove anything. That was the art of the work, to not prove anything."
Now an Education Program assistant for Oregon State University extension, she teaches cooking classes and gives presentations on nutrition to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients. She also is volunteer facilitator for a grief group of teens who have lost loved ones.
"The winter Debriefing Weekend affirmed my choice to take a break and take care of myself, but I still feel a calling to hospice social work," she says.
"I wanted a full-force hospice experience and that's what I got. Through the debriefing weekend, I could deeply pay attention to my service and admit that they were really hard years," she says. "I was yearning to reflect, and now I am yearning for service. That's when I lean into the Krista community, which says yes to applying service to life in every possible way."
After a year in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps serving as Community Health Advocate for the Hepatitis Education Project in Seattle, Linda Chastine '16 embraced an international service year through Young Adults in Global Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Eager to expand her public health experience, she was looking forward to serving in a community health clinic in Rwanda. When she found herself teaching English to children living on the street at Centre Marembo instead, her confidence was shattered. "I was feeling wholly unprepared to be a leader in that way, and there were so many expectations that as an American I would know how to teach English," she remembers. "A lot of that pressure made me feel very insecure about my position."
Insecurity was only one of a dizzying array of emotions she described in her newsletter:
"In the time that I have volunteered at Centre Marembo I have cried, I have laughed, I have danced, I have sang, I have been confused, I have felt isolated, I have realized that I am completely and wholly welcomed and loved in a much different way than before. The people at Marembo have opened their gates, their arms, their hearts, and their life to me. They have taught me so much more about self-acceptance, patience, and faith. As hard as it may seem, we must be open and patient with the changes that God brings in our life. From them, can spring wondrous, unexpected, and much needed gifts."
It wasn't easy to recognize and hold all these emotions at the same time. "As a black woman, I don't think that I've gotten permission to hold different emotions, especially not at the same time," she says. "If I'm enraged or sad or angry, I'm not supposed to also be joyful or hopeful or optimistic. I have to be one or the other."
"Just be free," her Rwandan colleagues would urge. "Just be free." While everyone around her was giving her permission to embrace her mixed emotions, "I was restricting myself to have to be or act in a certain way." Finally, their message got through.
"Being in Rwanda taught me that I'm able to experience a plethora of emotions and experiences all at one time, and that I don't need to separate those things," she says. Now living in Washington DC and searching for opportunities in community health, Linda is incorporating what she learned.
"Suppressing emotions doesn't produce self-reflection, self-awareness, or any clarity in the end. Recognizing and appreciating all the emotions I was experiencing helped me."
To discern where you're going—even, sometimes, where you are—you need to know where you're from. At the Winter Debriefing and Discernment event, colleagues compose "Where I'm From" poems that unpack the places, people and experiences that form their service journey. Here's a taste of the paths of three colleagues who debriefed this year.
Bridget Hinton ‘16
I am from benvenutos, bienvenidos and welcomes,
from hot bike rides through sunflower fields,
from swimsuits and splashes
from morning sips of coffee, fried eggplant, rosemary bushes, mozzarella balls and too many ciao bellas that broke my heart.
I'm from unspoken family trauma,
From deep wonder, church pews, stained glass windows, lit candles and family prayer time.
I'm from evergreens planted to the soft cold sand on the gray harbor.
From rain pants, canned beef stew, pea salad, long lines waiting for lunch and beautiful faces.
I'm from rivers and mountains, from long stories of the past, from soft and wrinkly skin full of wisdom on its way to the stars, leaving the rest of the world in mystery and love.
Spencer Uemura ‘16
I'm from a distant place, but my heart has found a home
in rock-studded shores, tree-lined streets
in breakneck, widemouthed, downhill bike rides, and scraped palms.
I am from a good, and quiet, and hardworking people.
I'm from a distant place, but my heart has found a home
in the biggest skies and the widest plains
in unexpected, bountiful, and plentiful friendships.
I'm from a distant place, but my heart has found a home
in jagged peaks indomitable, snowy valleys impenetrable, a culture invaluable
in tears and blood, but mostly sweat,
poured into the Mother's womb, to be rebirthed anew
in lessons learned from secret sages
to whom the world would do well to listen.
Lauren Amundson ‘14
I'm from Vikings and lefsa,
from pea salad and lakeside
from chocolate roll and mosquitoes
I'm from sunshine and ocean
from oak trees and waterfalls
from orchids and cactus to things that can't grow
I'm from yard sales and Jesus
from thrift stores and gold
From privilege and power to places unknown
To familia y tequila
with a new home that loves
filled with people that aren't connected by blood
I'm from failing and learning
from growth and from hope
to a world of connection that includes one and all.
The impact of skills gained through service and honed in the Krista Foundation's service leadership program extends far beyond the service year.
Watching co-workers and citizens place their lives at risk to help advance the reform of Honduras's police force, often closely connected to gangs and drug trafficking organizations, helped Aaron Korthuis '13 understand why someone would flee a country and seek residency elsewhere. What he witnessed through his work with the Association for a More Just Society stoked his commitment to seeking justice for the oppressed-and sensitive to the demeaning ways in which refugees and asylum seekers can be treated when they try to enter the U.S.
So it's not surprising that in the hours following President Trump's January Executive Order to ban refugees from entering the country, Aaron, now attending Yale Law School, played a key role in the federal lawsuit challenging the order. To help file the motion on behalf of two Iraqi men with valid visas who were detained after arriving at JFK Airport shortly after the EO was signed, Aaron and half a dozen fellow students sat in a New Haven basement drafting court filings requesting a federal court to stop the removal of those affected by the order in anticipation of an emergency hearing.
"When we heard that the stay was granted and that it was nationwide, there was euphoria in the room," Aaron said. "No other way to put it."
Aaron knows that not everyone agrees with his action. Tools from the Krista Foundation, including the January 2015 Krista Foundation debriefing and transition retreat, have helped equip him to engage people who feel differently.
"In 2015, I really needed time to reflect on what I had learned from serving in Honduras," he says. "I had just gotten married and started law school, and I wanted to think about how I was going to continue incorporating the lessons of my time abroad as I moved forward. One of the most meaningful things about the debriefing that I have tried to make part of my life is listening to the stories of others, especially those who are different from me, and letting that inform my work."
Faith is where Aaron starts when he reaches across the political divide. "I always try to make clear that my faith is the reason why I spend my time working on behalf of immigrants and refugees," he says. "Especially with other people of faith, there is a common ground, a common language I can use to explain why I disagree with them and why I think our faith compels a different understanding of many issues dividing our country."
Faith is also the reason he continues on his path. "The center of the career part of my life is seeking to work on behalf of people who are victims of violence or who are subject to oppression and trying to flee their homeland or make it better, by assisting them or ensuring that they can seek safety."
Helping support hundreds of young people across Washington state whose futures are suddenly uncertain can be draining, especially when your own family's prospects are unclear, too. Wendy Martinez Hurtado's days are intense; after her service year wrapped up in 2016 she became the Program manager at 21 Progress for the Washington State DACA Program-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program started by the Obama administration in June 2012 that allows eligible undocumented youth and young adults who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
As young people in her caseload renew their DACA status or apply for a loan to cover the $495 application and biometrics fee, Wendy's days are filled with one-on-one meetings, conferences, presentations, calls, newsletters, and advocacy. "I have to be fully engaged, accurate, support people in the process of renewing, and take care of myself as someone who is undocumented and lives in a mixed-status household," she says. "I am on the job 24/7 whether I like it or not."
Wendy started her job on the heels of a difficult service year. Nearing burnout, she found inspiration and energy from the colleagues and speakers gathered at the May 2015 Service Leadership Conference and was able to tap into the resilience she needed to finish her last few months. Nearly a year later, the February 2016 debriefing provided a space for her to share her service year journey and process the full truth of her experience.
"The Krista Foundation offered a space where I could be my full self, completely transparent about my experience without being judged," she says. "In conversation, people validated that what I experienced wasn't okay. I felt supported in ways that I hadn't been supported by my own service community."
Knowing that she isn't alone-that a supportive community has her back-matters right now. Recently Wendy has been focusing on helping undocumented K-12 students and students from mixed status households feel safe on campus. "I just met with four students at UW Bothell who are trying to create a sustainable way of training colleagues on campus to be allies to undocumented students," she says.
"I know I can't maintain myself without self-care very long," she says. "The job we are doing is tough and emotionally draining. I continue to be super passionate about doing the work I do, but it's really hard."
Besides support and solidarity, difficult work requires a community that is willing to put their bodies on the line for each other. That's why it was a joy for Wendy to encounter two other Colleagues at a recent rally at the Tacoma Detention Center. "The debriefing last year, the detention center this year-it's great to know that if I want to reach out, I can find support in the Krista community!"
What is a Krista Colleague? Meet one of our Krista Colleagues, Mitchell Dorn, who is exploring service-shaped implications in his life and vocation in Tacoma. Mitchell recognizes the necessity of being present within his community and emphasizes the Krista Foundation value of staying for tea (emphasizing relationship bulding).From Uber driver to events manager, into the non-profit world and out again-Mitchell Dorn's service journey has taken some interesting turns.
Participating in the life and ministry of Urban Grace Church through AmeriCorps, he plunged into the rich diversity of downtown Tacoma-and gradually realized that his strengths might lie in the for-profit world. Now he is growing a new business as Events Manager for the recently renovated Courthouse Square.
"I love my job and what I do, and I believe I am part of a bigger project that is making a difference downtown," he said. "Using my talents to their fullest capacity, having ideas, taking risks, watching them take off, and employing others is rewarding."
During the 2016 Krista Foundation Debriefing and Discernment Retreat, offered to Krista Colleagues after their service-year, Mitchell reflected with other Colleagues from different cultures and callings on how his new role impacts the community. One of the questions he explored concerned gentrification. What should he do as a white man living in a predominately African-American neighborhood where rents are rising and many people are displaced as downtown Tacoma revives? He is taking to heart their response: don't infiltrate the community. Be a part of it.
"Being part of a diverse group talking about serious issues, not afraid to step on each other's toes" is a gift of the gathered Krista Colleague community. "Understanding diversity and my world view are things I think about daily now, more than I ever did in AmeriCorps," he says. "I want to be a positive impact on my city."
Arts & Culture
Children and Youth
Integrating Service As A Way Of Life
Peace & Reconciliation
Post-Service Term Reflections
Poverty: Urban US & International
Preparing To Serve
Transitions Home & Beyond