As promised, I returned to Rockaway, Queens to participate in post-Sandy relief. I volunteered with NY Cares to assist at the Action Center on 57th Street and Beach Channel Drive. The Action Center is a distribution center that serves food, and gives clothing and supplies to residents affected by hurricane Sandy. I was assigned to sort and fold clothes in preparation for the afternoon rush. Before I could get started, I asked for directions to the ladies room. In the midst of me saying “Thank you,” I tripped over a crate and fell, slamming my face against the hard tiled floor. I could feel my head pounding and arm throbbing underneath my body. People rushed around me saying, “Are you okay?” When I said, “No, this really hurts,” someone yelled “Get the nurse!” I was scared not sure if I broke anything. I could see my glasses across the room bent up. After the nurse checked me and cleaned an open wound on my face, I was helped up and sent to the clinic. I remember me saying, “I’m so sorry, here I am to help ya’ll out and you’re helping me up!” I giggled as the nurse and staff smiled saying, “It’s okay, we want to make sure you’re okay.”
While receiving an ice packet for my swollen face, I felt woozy and achy. I hadn’t eaten anything which upset the nurse. “You have to take care of yourself,” she said while checking my sugar. I agreed with her. A friend of mine, who’s also a Sandy survivor, stopped by the center. It’s been a year since we saw each other yet I didn’t want her to see me in that condition. After a few hugs and recapping what had happened, she stayed with me for the remainder of the day. She thanked me for helping out, because Rockaway is her home. She lost everything due to the storm.
On Tuesday, January 22nd, I found out that my elbow is fractured. I am thankful for the team leader from NY Cares, their volunteers, and everyone at the Action Center for their assistance and kindness. I’m grateful to them, and respect the work they do to help the community. I will be back again to finish what I had started.
Friday, January 25, 2013: New writer for NY Writers Coalition
I'd recently applied to be a writer for the NY Writers Coalition's blog, The Narrator. I completed an application, submitted writing samples, had a phone interview, and wrote a practice post about mental illness vs. gun control. I was nervous writing such a post since it's so broad, and a personal topic especially after the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I am happy to announce that it was well received and I now write for them! Here's my post: http://narrator.nywriterscoalition.org/2013/01/mental-illness-gun-control-an-unconfirmed-diagnosis/#more-1231
I'm very proud of this, a New Year's goal already accomplished! Yay!
Thursday, January 31, 2013: Client Casework
After being home for a week, it felt good to return back to my volunteer work as a client caseworker with the American Red Cross. The people there are very nice. Many asked how I am and were surprised of my ordeal. One of the security officers said it best, "Well at least you got hurt in the process of helping others." I couldn't agree more. I was busy managing intake by answering phone calls, input clients' information into the computer system, scanning documents, and talking with clients. I work in the client services department for local disasters such as homes lost due to fire. It's sad to hear stories of survival and how these individuals are coping with their loses. I can't imagine how they must feel. I never experienced anything like that. I still have a lot to learn about casework but so far I like it. It's a great way to gain experience in a field I greatly respect, social work. Before finishing the day, I ran into another volunteer I worked with in the call center (Sandy related). He asked what happened to me and when I told him, he joked saying I should take a picture. We were standing by a wall with a sign saying "RECOVERY." He insisted for me to look mad or sad but when I did (which is hard for me, because I always end up laughing) he laughed out loud falling on the floor! Between our laughter, volunteers passing by couldn't help but chuckle. I haven't laughed like that in a while. It felt great. The picture came out great too!
February 1st: Friday reflection
The sun is always near. It's been an interesting two weeks. I stepped away from social media, spent a lot of time by the waterfront despite the cold temps, and daydreamed. That's been my mood lately. I've been allowing my thoughts to roam free, and not focus on anything. I'm very ambitious and at times over do things. Sometimes I work too hard and don't enjoy just doing nothing. I like to daydream. It allows me to imagine, and takes me away from reality for a while. One thing I did learn from this experience is the need to take care of myself. I don't do that often and seems like when I don't I fall. Falling the way I did two weeks ago was scary. I could hear my face hit the hard tiled floor. I felt the throbbing sensation run through my body. I still have bruises on my ankles as a result. I don't like falling and must do better in trying to avoid that from happening again. This month is special because it's Black History month and Valentine's Day. As with any new month, changes will occur. I feel a change is right around the corner for me. I will stand tall when it comes.