This is a quote recalled by Dr. Whithers today as he reflected with all of the OSN and satellite staff about our work. It stood out to me, so I thought I would share!
“Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves.” ― Lao Tzu
The quote above is a perfect segway into the theme of this post, which is OUTREACH! Yesterday was my first direct outreach experience with OSN. It was similar to some of my other experiences in outreach, but the OSN organization has significant connection to the street homeless community and far more resources than any previous outreach I have experienced. Not only do they provide simple immediate needs of food, water or warm socks, the outreach teams can offer health care, case management and connections to resources provided by OSN and other programs. The outreach we do is a perfect harmony of charity and justice, meeting immediate needs while providing opportunity for empowerment and assistance for all we serve.
I went out with Dr. WIthers, Mike the outreach guy and another clinical volunteer, a fellow nurse. We walked throughout downtown seeking people in need. I asked if there were any typical spots they could expect people to be staying and Mike said that beyond a couple likely go to places, the people who sleep outside can land anywhere. He depends mostly on his expansive history of working in outreach and a lot of natural intuition to find those in need. I absolutely loved everything about providing outreach, talking to people, seeing where they spend time and meeting some of the key informants of the community. Building an honest rapport with the people is integral to our mission being a success. Some thing that stands out to me about OSN in general is its relationship with the community’s population who are homeless or housing unstable. Working with pros like Mike and Dr. Whithers is humbling and inspiring as I move forward in my experience.
Today we had a staff retreat/training/team building day where all the staff from Trail Lanes Apartments, Wellspring Drop In Center, Generations and Operation Safety Net gathered together to get to know each other. Basically I spent my day playing games and swinging on the swings at Shenley Park with my supervisor. It was such a blast to get to know people from other programs especially because we are going to be consolidating some of our services. I am in love with my program, the passion of everyone we are surrounded by and my clients. Overall…its been a good two days.