San_Antonio H&P Day 5

Today we woke up bright and early to serve breakfast at St. Vincent's Bistro. It was so great to see everyone's faces when receiving their food and you could really tell how grateful everyone was. We were serving cream of wheat, bagels, and coffee however some of the bagels were expired. Seeing people being served expired food was frustrating. After serving breakfast, we were brought out to the dining area where we were applauded by the courtyard residents which gave us mixed feelings. It was nice to see their appreciation for our service but it caught us off guard and really brought out many of the emotions we were experiencing throughout our week. 

After a quick coffee break, we made our way to the children's shelter where we hung out with babies and toddlers while some of the older kids were out on a field trip. When we arrived, some us went  to the playground to play with a group of toddlers. We took turns sending them down the slide and playing with toy carsSome of us went to the cafeteria and had lunch with the toddlers and then put them down for a nap. The rest of us 

Nashville -- SHP Health

We have returned to Columbia!!!! This Thanksgiving break, we served a wonderful community and learned about how health affects all aspects of one's wellbeing. We are so grateful for the Mizzou Alternative Breaks program for helping us make a difference and learn valuable life lessons. Everyone should go on a trip!

Rachel Wuestling and Taylor Dailing

Nashville -- SHP Health

This Thanksgiving, Health_SHP_Nashville served at Hospitality House — a home-away-from-home for patients receiving medical care in the Nashville area. We served the residents a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the fixings! We gave up a little something so someone else could have a little more :) 

San_Antonio H&P Day 4

Today was our first day volunteering for The Children's Shelter of San Antonio. We all split into separate groups and worked with different age groups of children. In the morning, the guys played with some of the younger boys and the girls were split between working with infants, and toddlers and older children. For lunch we all went to the cafeteria for a Thanksgiving lunch with the children. After lunch, we all went out to the playground area to play with the toddlers. Toward the end of our day at The Children's Shelter, one of the employees gave us a very in-depth description of how the shelter operates and some of the background stories of the children. This gave us a much greater understanding of the impact this place was having on the kids how it worked to get them the bright future each and every one of them deserve. After wrapping up our time at The Children's Shelter, we went on to serve Thanksgiving dinner at St. Vincent's Bistro, a partner of Haven for Hope. While in the back of our minds we may have had thoughts of our usual family traditions at this time of the year, we all felt humbled to serve the community during time of thanks. 

San_Antonio - H&P Day 3

Wrapping up our time with Haven for Hope we started off the day by asking our volunteer coordinator, John, some last minute questions about how their system worked. After having him explain in greater detail how everything works, we headed to the Women and Children's residence to clean out a storage room so they can begin storing the children's Christmas presents! As a team we finished quickly and were able to begin decorating huge Christmas trees outside. It was so amazing to see all the children watching from afar as we decorated the tree in anticipation for the upcoming holiday season. Some of the children even got the opportunity to help decorate with us! After finishing the tree near the Women and Children's center we left the gated part of Haven for Hope and went to the courtyard. The courtyard is a place where people who are experiencing homelessness stay and are not involved in any programs in Haven for Hope. It was a difficult for most of us to see the raw reality of what true homelessness looked like. We began decorating another outdoor tree while also talking with some of the individuals. Many were so open in sharing their stories which was inspiring to us all. After a quick lunch break at San Pedro Park we headed back to the courtyard to clean bed mats. This was such an enjoyable experience for our group knowing we were cleaning the things that were used by so many on a daily basis. As a whole we were able to communicate more with the community and learn more stories while sharing some of our own as well. I am so proud of the teamwork and effort put in to getting these mats clean to the best of our ability. We ended the day with pictures with the community and in front of the mural painted outside the warehouse. It was a bittersweet ending as we all experienced such a range of emotions at our time with Haven for Hope. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say this is not the last experience we want to have with this organization, now we wait in excitement for the experiences we will have with the children shelter and bistro.