Tuesday, January 17, 2006

One of my public accountant friends asked me to describe a "day in the life." Since no two days are the same I decided to take today as an example.

In short, imagine the pace of a professional (public accountant, lawyer, doctor, etc) minus the hours, combined with the emotional attachment of raising children and the multitasking of an executive assistant.

So, today it is then.

I woke up to two voicemails on my cellphone. I arrived about 9:30am after boxing up a cache of cookware from our house for a client who just recently found himself an apartment. You see, my community is moving its residence (this is relevant again later) and purging itself of "gently used" items. I glanced at my email--12 new--and noticed the phone was beckoning with its red message light. No time to get through them, however, because somebody needed a bus ticket to get to work. I obliged after sifting through paperwork to find the bus ticket sign-out sheet.

Next, I find out my roommate's colleague sent a client to our center for a coat. Because our Helpdesk Coordinator was busy with opening the center I rummaged through the pile of coats in the storage area--over 1,060 of them available via the One Warm Coat program--for an XL. I found a nice one, threw in a vest to boot and brought the goods back to a smiling client. I remembered what the Dining Room manager told me: "it's fun isn't it? You get to help people all day long."

I walked back behind the desk and decided after Harry, our new Workforce Manager, requested it and since I had been literally tripping over them for two days, to finally file away the two boxes of office supplies taking up valuable floor space (see the final portions of the "zones" blog.) I glanced again at the emails, was reminded that I had to submit the Winter Shelter Bed List before noon, but put the rest of them off because two clients were waiting for me to talk about the Homeless Court program. One I had seen before and he was just dropping off requeseted paperwork. I sat down, opened his file, copied the documents he brought me and realized, since the submission date was next Monday, that I needed to verify his continuing progress at a local Christian-based drug and alcohol recovery program. I phoned the manager, verified the client's progress, asked her about her own progress on finding funding for her drug counselor education credits, and suggested we set up a recurring Homeless Court workshop since this was the second client I fielded from her organization. She thought it a great idea and I promised to email her the information which I did a few hours later. I received the second client, introduced him the program, handed him the necessary paperwork and returned to the business of the winter shelter.

No changes were necessary since everybody showed up last night, I returned the census and put up a new standby list. In case other agencies fail to fill their alloted bed space I have the chance to send "stand-bys." Every day this list turns over. They sign their name, they return at 3:00pm and in the meantime I beg the shelter manager for extra space. This day, just like the last, held no extra bed space for the two who signed up.

I fielded a call from another local agency inquiring about the Homeless Court. I suggested to this agency, that we likewise set up a time to do a workshop. I find out that, hey, this afternoon at 4:00pm would be a great time. I agreed and suggested we set up monthly meetings. To make sure I could fit this in I reworked the schedule for fifteen minutes in my handy Outlook calendar--eliminated recurring services that have ceased and adding this one to the current ones. In the middle of this I fielded another call (the phone rings off the hook) from another local agency reminding me that the Healthcare Van will be at our doorstep tomorrow. I quickly put together the sign-up sheet, made an annoucement to the facility, placed the sign-up at the front desk, and reminded the Coordinator to put cones out to clear the parking spaces early tomorrow morning.

During this conversation I brought up the Winter Shelter--this particular agency gave up bedspace to me. I knew the system was screwing the agency so I recognized that and gave her an update on the administrator's meeting about which she was uniformed. I promised to type up some "unofficial" minutes from that meeting so she could find out what went on--that's next on the list following this blog but will not get done today.

Somewhere between all that I sat down with a new client, listened to his 15 minute story about getting released from a recovery center, and put together all our housing referrals for him. At about 11:30am I made some time to read through emails relating to a special need for a Homeless Court client. I set up a meeting for him for Friday.

I ate a 20 minute lunch.

I sorted through the remainder of the emails and jotted down the encumbant tasks: complete a write-up for One Warm Coat and send a Mid-year evaluation to JVC. I got to the cellphone messages and scheduled two coat pickups for the 19th. I got to the office phone messages and returned phone calls as necessary.

I created the write-up and sent off the evaluation.

I received a donation and helped input the day's statistics. I fielded a call from a student interested in interviewing the Seldom Seen Acting Company and invited her down to witness a rehearsal.

I had a meeting.

At about 3:30 I began preparing for the presentation I scheduled earlier in the day: copied all the necessary forms, grabbed a handful of business cards, roped in one of volunteers and walked to the agency just a few blocks away. For an hour I explained the program, handed out initial paperwork, answered questions, and provided referrals for people unqualified for the program, including one paranoid schizphrenic.

I returned to the center, dropped off the paperwork, and began writing this blog. I had to leave it unfinished, however, because it was time to walk home: it was my turn to clean the bathroom.

I arrived home about 6:00pm, ate a snack (it was my roommate's turn for dinner), cleaned the bathroom, ate dinner, had a 45 minute community meeting, and at about 9:00pm we commenced spirituality night--the first time the entire day I sat still, in silence.

What do you think Hitan?

1 Comments:

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