On Wednesday, January 13, 2016, the Health Advocacy Clinic group went on a tour of Hesed House with Elise Manzie, the new Assistant Director of Development at Hesed. Some of the students and I had already been on a tour of the building before while others had not.
I expected that I would not learn anything new on the tour and that it would be as much of a routine as walking around the Comprehensive Resource Center and Aunt Martha’s is to me because I was a part of the HAC last semester. I suspected that I would not feel any differently walking around Hesed than I normally do whenever I walk over there to drop something off or serve lunch. Although I am sensitive to the plights of guests, I did not expect to see anything new or different. Surprisingly, the main emotion that I felt during the tour was a sense of reinvigoration—especially in the TLC playroom. This was mainly due to the nice refresher we received from Elise about the guests and the problems they face, which reminded me why I am here. In actuality, the HAC is a course on my schedule, but it is the only one that allows me to really impact the world around me. When Elise told us about the video where kids were asked to choose between a Playstation for them or a coffee maker their parents wanted touched my heart especially when she said that that kind of behavior frequently occurs at Hesed.
I suspect that I went in to the tour not expecting anything new because going across the street to Hesed has become a sort of routine for me. My feeling of reinvigoration left me refreshed and reminded me why I signed up for this clinic with this particular population.
I probably unconsciously view going to Hesed as a routine so that I don’t get emotional each time I go there. If I did, it would interfere with the job I need to do. As part of my compartmentalization skills, if I were to get upset or emotional every time I saw the sleeping mats, for example, I would not be able to be a proper student attorney because I would be focusing too much on my feelings rather than the tasks at hand.
Yesterday’s experience of re-touring Hesed showed me that I might need to be reminded every so often about why I have elected to spend my Wednesdays at Hesed. I might need to spend more time reflecting on the positive aspects of our involvement there so that things do not become too routine.