End of the week wrap-up

All the cooking I’ve done this week has made for a full refrigerator. We’ve got roast beef, beerocks, rigatoni, beef and noodles, broccoli from the csa box, coleslaw, and today I used the tomatoes, chiles, and onions we got in this week’s csa box and made salsa. Finding a place for a bowl of salsa among all the containers was not easy. I sure don’t have to do much cooking the next few days. Oh, there are also ‘doggie’ boxes with Chinese food. We ate out last night even though we had all that food stacked up in the fridge, and the meals were so delicious we decided to take home the leftovers.

The first chaplaincy meeting went well. There are five of us newbies. We are all about the same age, and we have some connections. One lady went to high school with Terry; another is the daughter of a man with whom I’ve attended church for almost 40 years. Two of the fellas went to the same high school. There will be a breakfast meeting next week where we will meet all of the returning chaplains, 15 of them,  and learn more about what we will be doing. We do not have our school assignments yet and will spend September visiting and observing the veteran chaplains. One of the returning chaplains is 86 years old. Gives me great hope that I may be able to continue this for a few years.

I was concerned about the time commitment for the chaplaincy work as I have my other organizations, too, for whom I plan to keep working. Depending on the school and the number of first grade classrooms, I can work one or two days. I will be reading a story to each first grade class once a week and working on building resiliency in the first graders. There is a very detailed curriculum to do this. Most of the chaplains do cafeteria duty and playground duty afterwards just to be with the kids more. They are also encouraged to attend school carnivals, open house, and other programs.

Although there will be 20 schools onboard this year, there are more who would like to have a chaplain on campus. The problem is finding the volunteers to do this. The application process is very lengthy and involved. There are at least two face-to-face interviews, a 29-page application to fill out that asks all sorts of questions about one’s history, an intense background check, along with credit report, dmv record, and school transcript check. Many people cannot pass the background check. I really hadn’t thought about how squeaky clean my past was until I did this.

 

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7 responses to “End of the week wrap-up

  1. I love that you are so squeaky clean! And yay to a full fridge.

  2. It’s an interesting thing to be doing, and I’m glad you are through the rigorous process and can now look forward to it. I know you will tell me how you like it, and I look forward to that. 🙂

  3. Curious. Does this chaplaincy violate separation of church and state? Curious as to how atheists react to your presence in school. Or have I misunderstood what chaplains do? Why do schools need you?

    • Dianne we are not proselytizing if that is your concern. We don’t go in and preach. Even our shirts, unlike the Police Patrol Chaplain, don’t have a cross on them. We are another adult presence on school campuses. And out of over 100 campuses, chaplains will be on only 20 this next school year. Those 20 campuses are in neighborhoods that have a high incidence of sexual crimes.

      School Resource Chaplains meet constitutional guidelines for involvement in public schools–Lemon v Kurtman, 403 US 602

      I am assuming that your community and schools must be very orderly, crime-free, and the children coming from good homes. Such is not the case in Fresno. In 2013 36% of the children were living in single parent households. There were 798 cases of reported child abuse and 111 reports of lewd acts with a child under 14. Fresno is the methamphetamine capital of the nation. Children are being neglected and abused at a high rate. In the last 30 days there have been 20 shootings, many of which involved children. The police and the schools are overwhelmed and looking for help.

      One of the schools in a better part of the city found a group of 9 first grade boys engaged in sexual acts in the bathroom. Two of the boys were being sexually abused at home as well as seeing pornographic material in their homes. The principal asked for a chaplain.

      The chaplains, at this point, work with the first grade classes, building resiliency, through a curriculum that has been developed for just this purpose. The idea is to equip kids to bounce back from hopelessness to hopefulness.

  4. I am very interested in learning more about your chaplaincy in the schools. I have not heard the term used here in the NYC area. Based on my lifetime of teaching, I can completely identify with your description of Fresno You will be a much-needed,very busy lady. Congrats to you for stepping up.

    • From what I have learned from the Fresno Police Department, they have not been able to find any other program in the world like this. There is one in Australia that is similar, but the department’s head chaplain has pretty much had to write the curriculum and set this in motion as they go.

      The original concept was introduced by a detective who had gotten a grant to put something like this together but had no idea how. He turned it over to the chaplain, who was a retired police officer. He and another chaplain, a retired building contractor, went to work on it and developed it. The school chaplaincy is funded through grants and donations, none of the funding comes from the city.

      It really has to do with prevention, and in a city like Fresno, that’s where it’s got to start. By the time kids are in high school, it’s almost too late. I saw that while teaching high school all those years.

  5. Good for you for getting involved. Can’t wait to read about your adventures, now that you are (more or less) back at school!

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