There’s “Work Ready”…and Then There’s “CIRCLES”!

I have finally completed my first week at SCCAP and there is so much to share!

My first day at the Work Ready Program was truly awakening. There I was so excited to be hands on, but there was not much for me to do other than observe the environment around me. I have to be honest, there are some interesting characters at the program. Some of the women were really quiet, others were extremely outgoing. Good thing I have a personality built to handle both types very well! Did I mention there’s only one male in the program? There is so much that I have learned about the clients from the two days that I’ve been there this week. For one, I noticed that many of the clients at the Work Ready program are mandated to attend the program in order to keep their government assistance. As you can imagine, they are not always the happiest to be there. They also are not allowed to use their phone or eat during the program unless they are on break, but many of them break the rules. I am not so certain that I feel comfortable telling women older than me to “put away the chips” and stop texting. Another thing I noticed is that family means so much to these women! Even though they are not suppose to use their phones, many of them broke the rules in anxious attempts to show me pictures of their children. It was something very noticeable, you know, how the women cherished their children. It’s almost as if they are all the women had.

People have been explaining the main differences between the Work Ready Program and Circles for some time now, but I got to see it for myself Wednesday night. I absolutely loved my first Circles meeting. There was one major contrast. Those families in attended wanted to be there. This is not something mandated by the state, so those in attendance had very positive attitudes. And their children! They all were so excited to see their friends. It was such a beautiful experience. Families shared stories that were unheard of. I really appreciated their willingness to open up with one another. The leaders of Circles shared relationships amongst each other built on strong support and motivation. It was definitely a fresh breath of air!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that there is NO connection between the people in Gettyburg and the students at the college. When they speak of the campus, they speak like its some foreign place separate from the town. Sort of like a “them” thing. I look forward to looking into this issue more.

– Nadejiah