Monday, March 19, 2018

YWCA Visit

We went to visit two great non-profits last Thursday. The first was the YWCA, a place that helps women and children who are victims of domestic violence. We got a tour of the main building, which houses offices and classrooms and has lawyers on staff to help those in need. The murals in the classroom hallways are vivid and 3-dimensional and were a highlight for the students. They heard about how supporters of the YWCA could purchase an animal on the wall, and "How much did that animal cost?" was a frequent question as we toured. Time and attention were taken to make sure the space was inviting. The students also heard about the apartments just down the street that house clients who need a place to stay until they can find a place to live. There are bars on the windows to protect the people living there, but again, care was taken to make them look like art. The students were amazed at the care and detail that went into the artwork on these, and one students marveled at the attention that went into letting the people living there know that they were important and that life is beautiful.

We also got to go out on the balcony to see one of the best views in Tacoma! 

One of the highlights of our visit to the YWCA was hearing about the new building that they are planning to build on their current parking lot. They have raised about 10 million dollars already and are just about to begin a campaign to raise another $10 million. We heard about what needs to be done to raise that money, inspiring one student to choose the YWCA as the non-profit he wants to help.

We also had a great visit to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, a group of homeless shelter for men, women and children, and people with disabilities. We went to the men's shelter, which is the main campus. Here we were given a tour of the building, got to see the donations center, and heard stories about people who were helped by the shelter. One of the big take-aways for the students was that homeless people aren't just people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol,  but are often people just like them who have other circumstances that contribute to their inability to pay rent. It definitely inspired empathy in the students. 

Next up, the students will be filming the interviews with their non-profit of choice, and the community service projects will begin.