Today team Foster Hope worked at the Madden Campus of Maryville Academy. This specific campus is for teenage girls and young women who are pregnant or parenting. In the morning, half of our team (myself included) painted one of the lunch rooms. Before we painted, the walls were marked up and chipped; the room really needed a fresh coat of paint. Every time a staff member walked by, they always seemed genuinely excited that someone was finally reprinting the walls. It was nice to see tangible evidence of the impact we were making at Maryville and to know that this work would last for a long time. In the afternoon, I did some research for one of the Maryville staff members. Every day, the girls at the shelter have a lesson on some sort of skill; sometimes these lessons are parenting related, other times they’re related to self-care. During my research, I was looking for articles and information that could be used for these kinds of lessons. The woman, Mary, who usually does this has a lot of other responsibilities at the shelter and it was nice to know that I was alleviating some of her work load so that she could focus more energy on completing the many other important tasks she does. It’s also really nice to know that they have classes like these. It’s obvious that the Maryville staff cares about their girls; they want to make sure they are well prepared when they have to leave the shelter.
Although I really felt like the work I did made a huge impact at Maryville, I do wish I had gotten to interact with the girls and their babies some more. Hearing from my team members who got to do art projects with the girls in the morning and play games with them in the afternoon was wonderful. I loved hearing the enthusiasm my team members had for what they did during the day and it sounded like everyone, including the girls and the Maryville staff, was having a great day. I was speaking with one staff member at the end of the day and she seemed so impressed that the girls had opened up to us so much. One of them mentioned that this was the most they had heard the girls laugh in a long time. Even though I wasn’t directly a part of this, hearing that made me feel so fulfilled. I was nervous at first that we wouldn’t really be making an impact at Maryville, but after today, I realize that we already have.