NOTEBOOKS

Notebook 1

It doesn't matter how old you are, what color your skin is, how you grew up, or how financially stable you were last year, things change, and when they do you could be one of the 48.1 million Americans living with food insecurity .  Food insecurity is an issue that is far reaching and widespread.  Among the 48.1 million people, 15.3 million were children, according to www.feedingamerica.org.  The following photos all relate to the effects and causes of that issue. Some effects among others are health problems, mental health issues, embarrassment & shame, low energy, dental problems, and a higher likelihood that your children will suffer from the same issues.  Some of the main contributors to the problem are poverty, underemployment, unemployment, living in underprivileged areas, living in areas where food production is more difficult, living in nations with unstable political issues, war, crime.  Many of the children who suffer from food insecurity have a parent either not present or incarcerated.  The problems associated with food insecurity are nearly endless, and so far there hasn't been many solutions to the problem.  Hopefully in time the band-aids we use to ease the pain that comes with the problem of food insecurity, such as food banks and pantries, free meals, and government assistance, can be phased out and a real solution can begin, a solution that heals the issue and helps to put people in a long term, sustainable position where they can support themselves would be idea, however it doesn't yet exist. It only takes one person to think of one awesome idea.  That is why I'm doing my part and focusing on the social justice issue of food insecurity.

 

 

Heather Murray

Notebook 2

 

1a

Strengths:

  • Hard worker
  • Managerial experience
  • Currently holding a position in the Social Work Association
  • Currently a member of the Student Leadership in Civic Engagement program at SLCC
  • Great Work History
  • Completed over 50 hours of community service last semester
  • Great leadership skills
  • Devoted and committed
  • Good follow-through
  • Honest
  • Compassionate/caring
  • Bilingual: Spanish/English
  • Enjoy helping others

 

Interests:

  • Social Work projects such as community education and increasing awareness in social justice issues such as food insecurity, poverty, homelessness, and job insecurity.
  • Non-Profit work: I spent the last year in a partnership with a non-profit that focused on helping child victims of abuse and neglect.  I would like to branch out and begin a new relationship like that.
  • I would love to use (and improve) my skills as a Spanish speaker.  I could see myself doing work in one of the under-privileged areas of Salt Lake that has a large Spanish-speaking community.
  • I would love to be involved in any type of organization that helps combat food insecurity and/or poverty, and all the issues that go with it.

1b

I would begin by narrowing down my choice of the ideal place I would like to volunteer for.  After that the next logical step would be calling and asking them if they need help and in what area.  If they needed volunteers and the type of work matched what I was looking for I would begin by telling them about myself.  Let’s use the example of the food pantry I hope to volunteer with, REACH Salt Lake.

In order to establish my credibility and competency (ethos) I would…..

  • I would talk about my previous work/volunteer experience I’ve had that is similar to the work/position they are looking to fill. I would talk about how I had been doing work in the SLCC pantry for the past year.
  • I would explain why I’m interested in this type of work.  I would talk about how in my life I have experienced what it is like to not always have what you need, and now that I do have all that I need I want to help those who don’t.  I have a heart for people who suffer and I understand that everyone’s situation is different.
  • I would talk about how this connects with my degree that I’m working towards. My major is Social Work and I hope to get a bachelor’s degree in Social Work.  I think that volunteering in places where social work is a focus would give me the real life experience I need, and more importantly, because I’ve already begun learning about this type of work through my classes, I have skills and knowledge that would benefit the work I would be doing for their organization.

In order to establish pathos, I would explain that I understand and have worked with those facing food security before. I would also explain that I have dealt with food insecurity myself, so I understand how important their services are.  Also, I know that it isn’t easy for people to ask for help and would talk about the importance of respecting those we serve.

As for logos, I would need to ask some important questions.  These questions should probably come before anything else, to make sure that it would even be feasible for me to volunteer there.

  • What are the hours of the organization?
  • How many hours a week would I need to volunteer?
  • Is their schedule going to fit mine?
  • Are there any training sessions I’m going to have to complete before beginning work?
  • What qualifications do they expect their volunteers to have?

1c & 1d

I called both “The Samaritan Program” and “REACH Salt Lake.”  Both seemed like they would be a good fit for me.  The Samaritan Program told me that I would need to schedule a time to come in and be trained, although this was felexible as far as when I could do it.  They said that it wouldn’t take long to explain what they do.  She told me the basics of what I would be doing there, which would be one of two things: coming in and putting together the sack lunches that they hand out, or actually handing the lunches out.  I think that I’m leaning toward handing them out.  I want to be able to interact with the community I’m serving, and if I were to make the lunches I wouldn’t actually be seeing any of the people that receive them.  They also said that the schedule for when to hand them out is pretty flexible.  It seemed like a good option.  The other place I called, REACH Salt Lake seemed like a great option as well.  They said that I could work for them in a variety of ways.  They have clothes and food that they put out.  They are also a Christian organization, and I’m a Christian, so this would work well for me.  I could also potentially share the Gospel with those we serve, (after a meeting with the board members).  They said I could begin my work there by getting the food orders ready, which is something you do side by side with the person who the food is going to.  This would be ideal, because then I would actually be working with people who need help.  This is what I want to do.  I want to be able to interact with the people I’m helping.  I set up a time to come in and learn about the program, and will be going there this Thursday at 10am.

I’ve chosen to work with REACH Salt Lake.  They are a pantry that serves a few specific area codes of Salt Lake.  They are the pantry that serves the most people out of all the pantries in Salt Lake, which means that I’ll be able to interact with many people.  The organization gives out food to those who need it.  They also have clothing that has been donated to them that people are able to get if they want it.  They allow people to come in once a month and receive food assistance.  They are a Christian organization. Their goals are to not only help with food, but also to share the Gospel with those they serve.  The writing topics that would relate to my organization are poverty, religion, social, economic, racial, ethnic, and just about anything else that relates to people.  This is because people of all walks of life have to deal with food insecurity.  This organization, although a Christian organization, does not just serve Christian people.  In fact, the majority of people that they serve are not Christian.  I think it will be a good experience volunteering there.

 

Heather Murray

Notebook 3

9/21/16

 

            Quyen G., To, et al. "Household Food Insecurity Is Associated With Less Physical Activity Among Children And Adults In The U.S. Population." Journal Of Nutrition 144.11 (2014): 1797-1802. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.

I’m going to be using the article, “Household Food Insecurity is Associated with Less Physical Activity Among Children and Adults in the U.S. Population,” in my profile essay.  I chose to highlight this article because Quyen, Frongillo, Gallegos, and Moore employ the strategies of using statistical and scientific data.  They also limited their geographical area of study to the United States.  They begin their article by appealing to the logos of their audience by presenting a clear and logical point of view, “Household food insecurity and physical activity are each important public-health concerns in the United States, but the relation between them has not been investigated thoroughly.”  In one sentence they have justified their work.  They defined the terms they used, such as what food insecurity is, so as to prevent confusion.  They applied the strategy of appealing to their readers’ ethos by presenting their article in the ever credible format of the scientific method, and also putting in the time and work necessary to have their findings published in a scholarly journal, “The Journal of Nutrition.”  One major reason why I’m choosing to highlight this article isn’t necessarily something they did do, but something they didn’t do. 

Quyen and others never tried to appeal to their readers’ emotions.  While the subject in general is one filled with glum realities, the authors, in the way they chose to portray those sad facts, never tried to pull at the heartstrings of their audience. They simply stuck to the facts.  When I write, no matter the subject, pathos is my main appeal.  My strategy is always to get the reader emotionally involved with the subject, then lead them to the correct conclusion, mine!  This is not always the most effective approach.  Many people, including myself, can oftentimes see right through the motives of the author.  Without real evidence to back your claims up, no matter how hard you tug at the reader’s emotions, your efforts will be useless.  I intend to follow suit with these authors and use hard facts to back up my claims.  Instead of having my main strategy aimed at the heart, in my upcoming profile essay, I will direct my arrows of appeal at the readers’ head by employing the strategy of using logic and credibility when presenting points and arguments.  I will accomplish this by including pieces of evidence such as statistics, definitions, and credible quotes.

Heather Murray

Notebook 4

9.25.16

 3a

                When I began working on the research for my profile I didn’t know where to start.  I figured a good search phrase would be “food-insecurity,” and luckily for me, it was.  I ended up coming up with a lot of good journal articles that had reliable and pertinent information.  I was able to find data specific to health effects from living with food-insecurity and also about which groups are more likely to be living with food-insecurity.  I found research that focused on the effects children face from food-insecurity, and also what programs are available to families with children that help provide necessary nutrition and also ease the burden of food costs for their families.

                All of this information was great, if I were writing a report on food-insecurity.  However, I wasn’t.  I was supposed to be writing a profile.  When I began my research I thought I knew who/what my profile was going to focus on.  I thought I wanted to write it on a local food pantry, but when I began, I felt lost and somewhat bored with the idea of it.  That’s when I decided to change my mind.  Instead of focusing on an organization, I decided to focus on a program.  This program happened to have a lot of information available about its history, its successes, its failures, its growth, its current state, how many people it helps each year, how much that help costs, and so on.  That program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or as it’s better known, food stamps.

                SNAP has been around close to 100 years.  It began in the 1930s, so there is a lot to be researched in terms of its history, and there has also been hundreds of thousands of studies done on every aspect of the program imaginable. From the effect it has had on its participants’ quality of life to the cost of keeping the program up and running, any question I had, I could find an answer.  I was able to find most, if not all, of my information on the history of SNAP on the United States Department of Agriculture’s website.  From there, all I had to do was search SNAP and food-security in SLCC’s Library Database and, voilà, instant success!

                It was when I finally found a topic that I found interesting and manageable that my research became enjoyable.  I wish that I would have spent more time thinking about the topic of my profile before I began researching.  If I had, I believe I would have been more successful in terms of my research.  However, it seems this is my process more often than not.  I pick a topic for a paper, begin my research, and inevitably end up changing it due to the results of my research.  Although this research experience didn’t follow that process to the T, it did come close.  I am still currently working on my profile and hope to finish it today.  I’m just glad that at least now I am interested in my research and am able to really get something out of it, like some in-depth knowledge about a program that is so vital to the majority of the people I will be interacting with due to my major, social work.  I now feel confident in both my research and my topic.

Heather Murray

Notebook 5

10/5/16

 4a

                One time I remember being an outsider was in 6th grade. I had just began at a new school and I had a grand total of zero friends.  I remember longing to fit in with one of the groups of kids at the school.  I honestly didn’t care who I was friends with, I just needed friends. Unluckily for me this school was a small school in a small town, and small town atmospheres aren’t always the most welcoming.  In this place, you were either in or out, and I was out. I felt ashamed that I was a loner and I really took a hard hit as far as my self-esteem was concerned.  To top it off, I began to be bullied and my life became miserable.  Nearly the entire school year had passed before I was able to make friends, and then, the friends I had I really didn’t click with that well.  It was a terrible experience.

                This experience and others like it have taught me a valuable lesson about being the outsider.  I think it is difficult to understand someone who is hurting unless you have felt pain yourself.  I can relate this experience to immigrants, people living in poverty, people who are part of minorities such as Hispanics and African Americans.  I think it also can help me to relate with those who consider themselves to be part of the LGBT community.   Most importantly for me currently is that this experience can help me relate to those who are and have suffered from food-insecurity.  I know what it feels like to feel ashamed of a situation that is totally out of your control.  I know that a lot of stigma surrounds those who suffer from food-insecurity, lies such as, they must not be trying or they don’t care enough to work or get a job.  Food insecurity isn’t something that you choose or that happens because you’re lazy, like a lot of ignorant people would like to believe.  It happens because circumstances in life take you to places you didn’t think you go and drop you into situations that are difficult to get out of.  There are many factors that cause a person to suffer from food-insecurity.  I will do my best never to pass judgement and to treat those I serve with the dignity and respect they deserve.  I will also keep the idea and understanding that everyone is just another person trying to make sense of life, and that no one deserves to be treated like anything less in the forefront of my mind at all times during my service and life.  We all struggle and no one deserves to be put on the outside.  We are all people and we can all relate on some level.

I think this can help me to take into consideration the fact that not everyone understands what it means to be on the outside.  Perhaps when discussing the effects and causes of food-insecurity I can approach the subject and use rhetoric that will convince and persuade those who tend to put people “on the outside,” and hopefully get through to them about what it really means to be food-insecure.  I hope to communicate that no one suffers from food-insecurity by any fault of their own.  I think by using credible resources, a neutral tone, and good logic I will be able to effectively present my information on the topic of food-insecurity, and with any luck, effect change for the better.  Change such as convincing those who consider food-insecurity to be a problem of “a different kind of person,” that it is a problem that everyone needs to stake a claim in and help to find a permanent solution for.

Heather Murray

Notebook 6

10/12/16

 

2e

What I know

  • Percentages on how many people suffer from food-insecurity.
  • I know many of the governmental resources aimed at preventing and combatting food-insecurity
  • I know a lot about the history behind programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • I know a lot about how current governmental and public safety-net programs work, and how they try to ease the burden of living with food-insecurity.
  • I know, in general, what food-insecurity is

What I don’t know

  • The actual number of people who suffer from food-insecurity
  • Local resources for those suffering from food insecurity
  • Statistics specifically about children who suffer from food insecurity
  • Resources aimed directly at combating food-insecurity with children
  • Statistics on which groups of people are at most risk of food-insecurity
  • What the US government’s definition is of a citizen living in food-insecurity

New resources I can use to learn about "what I don't know"

“A Peace of Bread: Faith, Food, and the Future,” director. Films Media Group, 2011,  http://fod.infobase.com/portalplaylists.aspx?wid=102595&xtid=55228.

This is a documentary that explores the realities of those living with food-insecurity.  It also helps define the government’s standard of what a food-insecure person is.  It breaks food-security into three categories: food-security, low food-security and very low food-security.  It also documents a woman living with very low food-security.  It also gives numbers on how many millions of Americans are living with food-insecurity.

Wunderlich, Gooloo S., (U.S.) National Research Council, and Janet L. Norwood. Food Insecurity And Hunger In The United States : An Assessment Of The Measure. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2006. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

This source talks about what it means to be food-insecure as compared to other nations.  It discusses what food-insecurity is and what it looks like in a person.  It also talks about the irony of being a nation known as a land of plenty, but also having almost 50 million citizens who can’t get adequate nutrition.  I like the honesty behind the ideas it discusses.

“Local or Imported Food: How to Decide?,” director. Films Media Group, 2008, http://fod.infobase.com/portalplaylists.aspx?wid=102595&xtid=42015

This documentary discusses what food-security is rather than food-insecurity.  It discusses environmental factors that affect the United States’ produce, economics and other factors that can make a difference in the price and amount of food.  This is a contributing factor in whether or not an individual can afford food, thus affecting their food-security.  I think this will help me get a better idea about how an individual becomes food-insecure and also how to help prevent it.

 

 

 

Heather Murray

Notebook 7

10/19/16

4e

            Future Student,

During this course I’ve learned a lot about how to write strategically in hopes of enacting change in my community.  My own social justice issue, food-insecurity, has given me a great opportunity to not only research through second-hand sources, but also learn through first-hand experience what I would never have been able to learn from a book.  Through online research and use of SLCC’s databases, I’ve learned a lot about what causes food-insecurity, what food-insecurity is defined as, and about the safety-net programs the government and non-profit agencies have put in place to try and ease the burden of living with food-insecurity.  With my first-hand experience working at a food-bank and serving people who are struggling, I’ve been able to gain insight about who food-insecurity affects, the different aspects of a person’s life it can affect, and I’ve also had the chance to hear personal accounts of struggles and triumphs from those who’ve struggled with food-insecurity and the different, less obvious aspects of their lives it effects.

Through my different assignments, I’ve learned how to take the afore mentioned information and put it to use.  I’ve learned how to write strategically to accomplish change through different genres of writing such as memoir, flash memoir, report, and profile.  Each genre has its own way of approaching an issue, some more direct, some more subtle, and some though narrative.  In my opinion, the most powerful and entertaining was the flash memoir.  I enjoyed being able to take a story and put meaning and a greater purpose into it.  For my flash memoir, I took a personal account of a time I experienced real food-insecurity.  I told of the lengths I went to in order to obtain food and then explained that food-insecurity isn’t an issue that only affects a few people. it’s one that touches the lives of millions of Americans every day.  I also tried to impact the reader and create change by going into possible ways to help become a part of the solution.

            Through my research on food-insecurity, by way of second-hand sources such as studies, statistics, government websites and the like, I’ve been able to become informed about food-insecurity in a way that I had never been able to before.  I know that the main safety-net program in place to help ease the effects of food-insecurity is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP.  I know that there are about 50 million Americans that suffer from food-insecurity. I know that the government spends about 74 billion dollars annually on the SNAP program alone, and I know that each person who participates in the SNAP program only receives about 130 dollars a month.  I also found out that the effect that such programs have on the individuals that are participating is, sadly, only a 1.1% decrease in the likeliness of living with food-insecurity.  I also learned from the clients I’ve served during my volunteering, about the specific struggles they face every day such as pain, reduced energy, lack of motivation, and hopelessness.  Furthermore, struggles like homelessness, violence, poverty, and lack of education are common struggles faced by those who live with food-insecurity.  Through this, it became obvious to me that food-insecurity is much larger and much direr than I could have imagined.

Through my research, coupled with all the first-hand accounts I was able to hear while serving, I learned that this social justice issue is one in great need of real change.  I’m glad that I have the opportunity to learn how to write effectively through a number of different genres to try to make a positive impact.  I know that so far, I’ve learned a lot, but I also know I have a long way to go.  I hope that those that have had the opportunity to read the writing I’ve done for this class, through peer reviews and proof reading, along with all those I shared it with outside of class, have had their eyes opened in reference to the truth about food-insecurity, its effects, and the issues that surround it.  Also, for myself, just being more educated on the subject has opened my eyes to the less obvious effects that are connected with food-insecurity that I missed before, effects such as those faced by children: bullying from school mates, lack of adequate clothing and school supplies because every extra dollar the family has must go to food.  I’ve also learned about the challenges faced by many food-insecure individuals such as the difficulties of having to go to a food bank and transport food home when you don’t have a car, or not being able to make it to work because you haven’t eaten and you’re too weak to walk.  Because of the opportunity I have to expand my knowledge on the subject, I now have the information I need to have open dialogue on the subject.  This gives me new opportunities to talk to those around me about food-insecurity in my day-to-day life. 

All of this considered, I now have the chance to really affect change by educating others (and myself along with them) about what food-insecurity is, who suffers from it, and what can be done to help.  And with any luck, I will have been able to give just one person a new outlook on what food-insecurity really is and how it affects those who suffer from it, and hopefully I’ll have prompted someone to think about how they could possibly affect change for the better themselves through my writing and conversations.  Without this class and everything I learned about my social justice issue and how to write about it in order to effect change, I would have never had the opportunity to turn my work as a volunteer into something more.  It is through my writing, new found knowledge, and opportunity to educate that I will further my service to those who suffer from food-insecurity and better serve them by prompting other to become educated and get involved themselves, expanding the circle of those willing to help.

Heather Murray

Notebook 8

10/26/16

 6g-Write a Letter to the Editor of your Online Magazine/Newspaper in which you use satire to propose a ridiculous solution to a problem explored in your Position or Proposal essay. Try to model your letter on Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.”

Dear Mr. Editor,

            I’m writing to you in response to the latest data released on food-security in the United States and a possible solution to our country’s woes surrounding the issue.  I’ve considered all aspects of the problem and feel that my solution, which I will soon describe in detail, is truly our only and best option to once and for all become a totally food-secure nation.  It is a three step process and will take some getting used to, but in the end I’ve no doubt the good people of this nation will adjust and see the benefit that comes from my plan.

            As I’m sure you know, in the year 2015 there were over 42.2 million Americans living in food-insecure households (USDA).  This is a statistic that we simply cannot have!  We, as Americans, are known for our overeating.  If we’re to continue to be the great nation we’re thought to be, the nation that is known for living up to its expectations, we must ask more of our citizens! More burgers! More fries! More Shakes! And more fat!  If the great (and hopefully one day big) people of America follow through with what we’re asking, we’ll do away with such talk of “underfed and malnourished” persons.  Which brings me to phase one: begin construction on government run, fast-food restaurants.  I propose we call them, “USDA Approved,” but obviously that’ll be for Trump to decide when he’s elected into office.  Phase two will be to divert all food-insecure persons from eating or purchasing food at any other food entity.  This should include, but not be limited to, restaurants of all kinds, food trucks, grocery stores, farmers markets, and any home grown produce.  They should then be diverted to one of our five government run, fast-food locations.  The five locations will be spread across the US and will be funded through the implementation of a new program called the “Fat Food Initiative.” This should be an added tax on only the wealthier 40% of the nation.

            The program will be no different than any other government program.  We need strict guidelines and set procedures.  To qualify, you must be a person living in a food-insecure home.  With recent numbers, this means we will need to prepare enough food for an estimated 42.2 million Americans, give or take, depending on the turn out.  The government will also need to provide the food at little to no cost.  You must fall below the poverty line, making no more than 100% of the official, annual, household income of what the government defines as the poverty line.  This, of course, varies on the number of dependents in your home.  Last of all is phase three.  In this phase we will actually see the people being transported to their assigned government fast food location.  Seeing as though there will only be five locations across the US, we should plan on providing daily transportation to and from the restaurant.  This can also be funded through the “Fat Food Initiative.”  With hard work and dedication, I’m sure the determined folks of this Land of the Free will one day all reach a BMI of 30+.

            Thank you, Mr. Editor, in your consideration of printing my proposal in your magazine.  I’m sure that with enough publicity the fine people of this nation will rally together in support of this fine idea and proposal. With enough time and enough bright minded individuals like you and myself working together to achieve this well thought out goal, we were surly achieve our dream of a great big nation.

 Works Cited

"Key Statistics & Graphics." USDA Economic Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture, 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

 

Heather Murray

Notebook 9

11/2/16

In the Mind of a Hungry Child


I look the same as all of the rest of the kids, why do I feel so different.  Mom works two jobs, so why isn't it ever enough?  I'm sick of being hungry.  I'm sick of empty cupboards.  I wish I had a different life where things were easy.  I'm tired of never being able to invite my friends over after school because I don't want them to see how I live: without food to eat, alone, no TV to watch because it costs too much, a couch for a bed, in an ugly one bedroom apartment. I hate my life.  A friend sits down at lunch with me. I ask, "how are you?"

"Good, what are you doing?"

"Nothing," I reply.  But it's a lie.  I'm thinking about everything and the way I wish it was.

"My mom said that if I find a friend to hang out with after school I can chill for a couple hours.  She'll be gone at some dinner meeting with clients and I don't want to stay home alone.  Do you think we could finally hang out at your house?"

"Oh, I wish we could, I really do.  I just know that my mom has some big family dinner planned tonight.  My brother is coming over after work and I know she wont let me," I lie.  I hate my life! This sucks so bad!  I want to hang out with my friends.  But I know they wouldn't be my friends if they saw my ratty little apartment.  We live like dogs.

"Oh man, really?  What are the chances huh?"

"Yeah, I know.  It sucks.  I really would rather hang out with you," I say as my friend gets up from the table to leave me sitting alone.  She knows I'm lying, I've got a new excuse every time.  I've hurt her feelings, I wish I could tell her the truth.  But I can't, I know it would hurt me way more to see the look in her eyes if she ever say how I live.  No money, no food, no bedroom, no nothing.  I am how I live.  I am nothing.


I believe that the issue of hunger is much larger than what many think.  Those suffering from hunger, especially children, can often times turn the pain of hunger inward and make it about themselves.  I chose this dialogue between two 12 year old girls to demonstrate how poverty and food-insecurity can impact a young person.  It can make them feel unworthy and less than, as if they have something to hide.  The truth is that they should feel just the opposite.  Hunger isn't something to feel shame about, although that is how the majority of those who suffer from it feel.  Instead, it is something to share with the world in order to overcome it.  That is why I've chosen food-insecurity to explore as my social justice issue.


Heather Murray

Notebook 10

7g What kind of service have you been performing this semester? Do you categorize your work as direct, indirect, advocacy, or research and consultation?  Be sure to include a researched definition of the particular kind of service you practiced. In your opinion, was yours the most effective way to serve? Why or why not?  

The type of work I’ve been doing this semester is two-fold.  First, I’ve been translating for clients at a food pantry called REACH Salt Lake.  I work mostly with our Spanish speaking clients, checking them in, getting them put into the system, helping them get to know the program and the way it works, which all results in them being able to get a substantial amount of food for themselves and their families.  I also translate for other workers at REACH when they need help communicating with Spanish speaking clients. And I work will all the other clients, but usually I get sent the Spanish speaking clients because there aren’t many people that work at REACH that are able to speak Spanish. Next, I receive food, stock food, and help the clients get food. The type of service I do is direct service, because I’m working directly with those I’m serving.  According to idealist.org, “Direct-service volunteers are the most visible – delivering food boxes, shelving books in a library, building playgrounds.  Whether it’s in an office or somewhere out in the woods, direct service volunteer roles are all about getting involved in hands-on, tangible way.”  Another way of understanding direct service is to ask yourself if the client is the first person to benefit from your service.  If the answer is yes, then it’s most likely direct service.

In my opinion, direct service is the most effective way to serve in this particular setting: volunteering in a food pantry.  I believe this because without the actual labor that puts the food on the shelves and then in the hands of the client, or without being able to communicate with the clients to get the information we need to best serve them, the clients wouldn’t be able to have the right amount of food, or wouldn’t be able to have food at all.  Every part of service is important, some more than others depending on the situation.  I enjoy working directly with the clients and am glad that this was the type of service I’ve had the opportunity to do over the course of this semester.

Heather Murray

Notebook 11

11/16/16

7c Analyze group work in the context of civic engagement. How might working in a group affect your writing positively and negatively (think about rhetorical elements like your credibility, your perspective, your message, your purpose, genre, etc.)?  How might working in a group impact—both positively and negatively—your own level of civic engagement?

Group work, when evaluated in the context of civic engagement, can both add to and take from any given writing project.  On the up-side, working in a group can promote creativity and give new perspectives, with members bouncing ideas off of one another, or one member making a contribution that none of the other members of the group, had they been working solo, would have ever thought of. It can also lighten the load, keeping each member of the group from becoming burdened with the project.  It can hold the members of the group accountable and help them to produce better work than they had if they were working alone, due to feeling an obligation and responsibility to their group members and the task at hand. It can build credibility, if one group member is well known or experienced in the type of civic engagement the group is participating in.  It can help spread the message of your civic engagement project, making use of different mediums and genres due to each group members’ interests and specialties being diverse, thus, each could want to use a different medium or different genre to spread the message.  Finding ways to mix mediums and genres is a great way to keep your work interesting to your audience.  However, on the flip side, each of these positive attributes could just as easily be negative ones, given the group and circumstances surrounding it.

Members of each group may clash, have combatting ideas, or want to take different routes in completing the task at hand.  One member of the group could have a particularly bad reputation due to previous work, thus taking away from the credibility of the entire group.  One member of the group may be domineering, pushing their own thoughts and ideas about divery, genre, and perspective on other group members.  This would take away from the fluidity of idea exchange and stunt the progress the group would otherwise be able to make.  So, although being in a group can be an awesome thing when trying to write to promote civic engagement, different personalities, ideas, and ways of doing things can get in the way if each member isn’t willing to compromise, listen, and support one another. 

For me, when working in a group to achieve my civic engagement tasks, it has usually been a good experience.  However, I keep everything I just discussed in mind when entering into and when working with a group.  I always try to remember that each member is equal and has equally important ideas, and that each member can, and should, make important contributions to the group.  In fact, when trying to promote food-security through making people aware, or in my efforts to promoting food drives, it is very important to have others to lean on.  In the time that I've spend working towards effecting change in my community, both during this semester and semesters past, I have gained from having others work with me more than I have ever been impeded by it.  However, along the way I have experienced set backs such as group members not following through with work that they said they would.  Group members have not shown up to group meetings.  Group members have failed to contribute ideas and time, and overall, showed a great lack of enthusiasm for the project.  One thing I will say about this, as discouraging as it may sound, is that it is usually a select few that fail to do their part.  There have always been those in the group that have stepped up to the challenge of not only doing their own work, but have also taken on the added burden of dividing the work of those that faltered between themselves.  It is because of this that I would say that the overwhelming majority of group work has been positive (even tho I usually complain about it in the start, like everybody else assigned group work). :)

Heather Murray

Final Notebook Reflection

                The activities that made me think differently about this project were the notebooks that included doing activities that I wasn’t very comfortable with.  The main one being notebook three.  Notebook three asked me to find different sources I could use in my writing about my social justice issue: food-insecurity.  Researching was something that I wasn’t comfortable doing.  It took a lot of effort to make myself begin, but once I did, I realize that research wasn’t something to fear.  I found it to be a great alley in both brainstorming my topic and also after I had decided upon a topic.  It gave me new ideas to think about and consider.  In my research I found studies about food-insecurity that enlightened me and also gave me hope about the issue.  I learned new problems regarding food-insecurity and also obstacles that I had never considered until reading these articles.  It strengthened my writing by giving me new ideas and solid evidence to back-up my claims.  It also broadened my knowledge about my topic which gave me new and better information to base my claims off of, and gave me more interesting avenues of thought to explore in my writing.

                The notebook that I found the most interesting and fun was notebook five.  It included exploring what it means to be an outsider, an issue I feel like I’ve really been able to connect with over the years.  Talking about a meaningful issue such as connectedness and feeling like an outsider, giving perspective to my audience that they may have not considered before gave me an opportunity to write on a subject that I feel is important.  I think that connectedness is a subject that everyone can relate to.  It is a need that is present in every human being, something that we all crave, and thus, something that should be important to us all.  I jumped on the opportunity to let people into the world of those that don’t feel connected, how it could affect a person, and hopefully give people an idea about what they can do to help themselves and others avoid being disconnected.

                The notebook that I like the best now is notebook number one and this is also the type of writing and medium I would like to try using again.  I have never been very comfortable using mixed mediums.  I tend to gravitate toward text only when writing.  I enjoyed adding in visual pieces into my writing both in my notebooks and in my projects throughout this semester.  I would like to continue experimenting with this type of mixed mediums.  I think that it gives my writing a special something that I’m not able to achieve through text only pieces.  I am better able to get and keep the interest of my audience with using other types of mediums in my writing.  It also enables me to bring more emotion to a piece, like I did with notebook one and my photographs of the emaciated and starving children.

                The three new tools and strategies I’ve gained through the various notebook assignments are the use of research, the use of mixed mediums, and a better grasp on how to be civically engaged in my writing.  Research, like I said before, has not been something I’ve been comfortable using in my writing.  I now feel, with all my practice using it this semester, that I now have a solid understanding of the different types of databases, mediums, and access points that I can use in my research.  I’ve also discovered that SLCC Library databases are an awesome place to start in any research project, and also in my personal interests.  I also am very excited to say that I am now comfortable finding, using, and citing different types of visual mediums in my writing such as inserting video, photo, or artwork into my writing to get the desired affect for that piece.  I can achieve everything from the “wow effect,” to adding credibility, to bringing on an emotional reaction from my audience by using visual mediums. I have also had the practice I need using MLA citation  to feel comfortable when citing visual pieces in my projects and writing endeavors.  Finally, through my notebooks I was able to be civically engaged, talk about meaningful subjects, and hopefully achieve change through my writing.  Before this class, my projects, and my notebooks, I knew very little about how to write in the hope of achieving change and being civically involved in my community.  Now, through all the practice I had in writing, my time spent volunteering, and my final project I’m working on, I have a lot more experience being civically engaged and promoting change for the better.  I have a new appreciation of what one person (me) can do with something as common as a pen and paper.  I have a new appreciation of the change my, and others’, writing can make on important matters like health care, food-insecurity, politics, immigration, and any other subject I or anyone else feels worthy of promoting and pursuing change for.  I’m excited to see what happens in the future with my writing and all the new skills I’ve acquired here.

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