Friday, October 29, 2010

Berea Classroom

Here and there, i help in the headstart classroom and this past visit a fire truck came to visit. I can't post the pictures of the kids so here are some of the truck! It was funny. One of the students asked the fireman how they got water into the truck and he said "I'll show you. Walk over here." So he took every one over to the water intake plug. Then he said "Watch," and pulled some levers and then twisted the plug. All of the sudden, a blast of water came out and sprayed all over a girl and a bit on some other kids. She was stunned at first but then laughed. I'm sure she will never forget it! The fireman later said "i knew water would come out but i didn't think it would spray like that." It was great! Everyone laughed!

This picture is really great! The little girl on the left clung to the aide the entire time the firetruck was there and would not get down or even close to the firetruck. But at the end after the spraying, the fireman came up, squatted down, and asked "are you afraid of fire fighters?" She said yes, with tears about to run down her eyes. Then the fireman said "i'm not scary, i help you! Don't be afraid of me." Then she said, "yes, i am scared. i've seen them before and i was scared. " This came from a girl that just sits there and stares at you when you talk to her. She doesn't talk much in the classroom and then she blurted this out to the fireman and even shook his hand. It was really neat to see! It's not the best picture in the world but the meaning behind it is amazing!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Conference details!

Here are some pictures from the conference. There were 19 girls i believe. I would say about 1/2 of them had their babies already! The conference began with a lady teaching sign language, which i loved and can't wait to teach my children and help mom teach theirs as well. She spoke for a bit and then we learned some new signs. Then a lady that was also a teen mom spoke about child development. This lasted a good hour. She showed the girls what happens when you shake a baby. She had a doll that had a transparent head where you could see the brain. She shook it and you could see and hear the brain rattling around in the head. She also pointed out that the brain is made of soft tissue and the skull is hard bone and each time the brain hits the skull, it causes great damage. One thing i really enjoyed about her was that she wasn't afraid to say how it was in a sense. I feel that some moms are afraid to say they get really frustrated with their children at times. She said that there had been some times when her baby wouldn't stop crying at getting really stern (not hurting the baby but firm) with the baby and took a step back, said to herself, what i am doing and took a second for herself. She explained that she put the baby in the crib made sure it was a safe environment and took herself to the other room to cool down. The baby was still crying but was safer without her at the time until she could take a second and collected herself. She did this because it was only her at the time. She also said that it would be a good time for another person, if around to come and try to soothe the baby. I feel that if many more people would do this the amount of violence and abuse would decrease. It was great advice. After she was done speaking, the moms decorated their picture in a frame, which had been taken as they arrived. Then we had a delicious spaghetti lunch and homemade cupcakes decorated and baked by a very talented 12 year old! After lunch, they did the merry-go-round, which is where my part came into play.

My part was reading to your children! I think that reading is one of the most important things to teach a child and was super excited to share my knowledge and excitement! Here are some pictures of my board/area! I did give away a car seat through a drawing with some clothes! Each girl was given a red bag with a bunch of goodies!

A few girls went to each booth based upon which color folder they had and were there for 7 minutes. Then they would go to the next one! After the merry-go-round, a speaker came in and talked about her experience as a teen mom and what she did to get where she is today! Finally, the head lady spoke and told her story through a goal setting activity. The girls were to write down some goals. Then they had to think back to when they were little and what they wanted to be when they grew up. They wrote that down at the bottom of the paper. Then they were to do it when they were in middle school and then what they wanted to be now. As time went on they were to add to it. This was to represent how every piece of their life helped them reach their goals. The head lady, told us her story and related each goal and how it related to what she wanted to be when she was younger. An example, she teaches classes on domestic violence, earlier in life she was a teacher. Being a teacher had lead and helped to where she is today! It's hard to explain, but i hope you get some what of an idea! After that, the conference was over. Each girl left with 4 bags full of goodies, and many door prizes! I am hoping they left with a network of other moms to talk to and a confidence in themselves to strive for the best and a happy future with their new family!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My kitten is growing up!

Nayeli is becoming quite the kitten. She is three times the size she was when we got her and a bundle of joy! She sleeps tucked right up to my chest and at times during the night when i am sleeping on my back, i awake to her across my neck. She is like a child. She wakes me up early to play, always wants my attention, and always wants fresh water. She doesn't like the water out of her water bowl so every time i go to the frig she begs for some water from my brita and of course i give in to the cute little meows and purrs. Or i will find her licking the faucet on the sink after i have brushed my teeth or washed my hands. When she does her business, you know. Something that has emerged in the past couple of days is playing fetch. It's the dog in her haha. I will throw her little yellow ball and she'll run down the hall and grab it, play with it, and then pick it up, and bring it to me. Last night, i was lying in bed and she brought it to me while i was lying there! What a cat she is growing in to! Also, her play bite is becoming stronger! Ouch. Soon she will be taken to the vet to be spayed. She doesn't go outside, but i don't want any little surprises if she ever does escape for a period of time, which i am hoping will NEVER happen because i love her too much! I think that she would be too scared and not know what to do or where to go. Also, there is this HUGE black cat that lurks around the apt complex and we have even found it on my window sill. One time the black cat hissed and "barked" at my little kitten (she got scared) and Jesse scared it away by banging on the window and making a bunch of noise. We haven't seen it up there since. But it is still lurking around. One day i was walking up to my apt and POOF here comes a black cat leaping at me. Haha not really that dramatic but it did scare me.

Nayeli likes to sit on the bathtub while i take a shower and wait for me to be done to get her fresh water for the moment. The other day she leaped at the curtain and fell in the tub. She didn't get wet because i was blocking the water, but it made me laugh. I thought cats were supposed to be afraid of water. Well not all cats. My cousins had a cat that loved to swim in their lake. It was such a weird picture seeing a cat swimming through the waves and walking up on the beach!

A recent pic will follow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What a week!

This week was filled with adventures and new experiences! Monday was filled with volunteering at the hospital, babes and tots, and then getting ready for the teen mom conference on tuesday. Tuesday was the teen mom conference which was amazing. It was unlike anything else (more details to follow). Wednesday I was in the head start classroom all day. Thursday i helped a fellow americorps member with a food drive and then headed to the head start classroom for the rest of the day! Then friday, i had a MIHOW training in Williamsburg. Saturday, i ran my first 5K, which i am super proud to say i completed it and had a decent time considering i haven't been running since May. Jesse and I both ran and we got free pumpkins. I can't wait for the next one! All in all this was a busy but very exciting week! Pictures and details will follow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

1st hospital visit, babes and tots

Today I started volunteering at the hospital! It went alright. The people training me was a little late but that happens sometimes so it wasn't a big deal. He took me on a tour of the hospital and just showed me a few things here and there. I am meeting him again next monday! Right now i am just volunteering where ever they need me. Then as time goes on and i gain more trust and responsibility i should be placed on the labor/nursery and nicu floor! There were three newborns in the nursery today all girls and one had the hiccups. I can't wait to be able to help with the babies. I really like that i will be familiar with the hospital and can help the moms be more comfortable! I might even be able to give them a tour/visit!

Today, babes and tots was canceled because she was sick. But here is my brochure for the week! It's a trifold brochure this time!

 I am hoping that this will make some people think twice about smoking!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Days!

Days like today make me miss home. The cool crisp air filled with the aroma of fall and the sunsets! Owh how i wish i could go to an apple orchard!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meeting/Activity with the moms at Madison High

Well, the activity went really well! They all loved making onesies. Walking through the high school brought back many memories of high school. eghh. high school. The girls seemed very standoffish, which i thought they might be. I tried to talk to them and ask them about their pregnancies and babies, but that is something i need to work on. I need to be able to get in the mind set like theirs. It's hard to pin point what they are going through at such a young age and their situations. I have NO idea what it is like to be in their shoes. But i hope to find out what they are going through and learn from them. They were all interested in creating the onesies but not really in what i had to say. I don't think they really understood what i would be doing with them! The next visit, i am going to do a pretend home visit so the girls see what i would actually be doing! I am going to try to make it fun and entertaining! Also, i am going to try an incentive, which would include on your 3rd visit you will receive a basket of goodies for you and your baby! I am hoping i can reach out and share their experiences with them! Here are the onesies they created!

These moms are amazing! I am so proud of them!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today is the day!

Very soon i will be heading off to the school and meeting the moms for the first time! I am really nervous. I hope they like me and my activity. I could see how they could think it's dumb and not want to participate. But i am hoping they are interested and think it's neat. I'm trying to figure out how i want to approach them with my program. Should i tell them my background and why i want to help, let them know i have always been a caring person, love babies and children, and want to be a part of peoples lives? I'm not sure what i am going to say quite yet. I try to think back to when i was in high school and think of what caught my attention, which was who i liked and who i was going to challenge in band. haha. I wasn't really thinking what am i going to do with this baby growing inside of me or how am i going to pay for diapers etc? The moms are in a different boat and about to instantly grow up and have a child. What are they thinking, what are they going through at school? What is their home lives like? Are their parents a positive role model in their lives? I want to be that positive role model! I want to help them through their pregnancy and be the shoulder to lean on. How do i reach out to teen moms? Will they have the same mind set as say a pregnant 30 year old? I don't think they will just because of the environment they are in and their position in life. How does having a baby in high school affect you? I must say that i am proud that they are staying in school and finishing! I hope they want to create a good future for their new family and stick it out! This is going to be a new and exciting experience which i hope turns out for the best in both worlds! Wish me luck!

Owh yea. The hospital orientation went well yesterday! We went through some paper work and went on a tour of the hospital. I worked in the hospital at home for a total of three years and in between the times of being at school or in France, i missed being in that atmosphere. This past summer, i worked at the hospital and it just felt right! I felt as if i was playing an important role and people could rely on me! I am very excited to be able to take part of a hospital again! At the same time, i will be gaining more experience in a place where i feel at home! My first day is on Monday 8-10 before my babes and tots class. I will be training with another volunteer. Right now, i will be learning the hospital and meeting everyone. As time goes on, i will get placed specifically on the nursery and labor and delivery floor! Wooo!

Next week is the teen conference, The Dream Inside of Me!  Things are starting to pick up!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Babes and Tots take 2

The weekends seem to fly by! Today, i am attending another babes and tots class and super excited! This week the brochure is about resources in the community with a fall twist! I am hoping that it helps someone or they can pass it along to someone that might need it! Also, today is my orientation at the hospital. I am going to be volunteering on the labor and delivery floor each week to gain more experience. I cannot tell you how excited i am to be in that environment and what i will learn! I will also be able to see what a midwife might do and how the labor and delivery floor is maintained! I will also be able to help the mommies with what the experience at the hospital is going to be like and what to expect! As time goes on, i will hopefully gain the trust of the nurses and in return be given more responsibilities. But for now i think that i will be doing miscellaneous things here and there but very excited to know that there is a chance of working with the babies and the mothers in the future!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Community concert

This past wednesday night, Jesse and I went to a bluegrass concert at the outdoor concert area on EKU's campus! He had to do a paper on it for his Jazz class and i thought it might be interesting to see and listen to. Well while i was there, i saw this girl from my Babes and Tots class. I waved and said hi but she didn't recognize me at first. Later on, she came up to me and i asked her if she remembered me from the babes and tots class and i showed her some signs we learned. Then, she was like "yea, i remember you!" After that, she didn't leave my side. While Jesse was watching the concert and taking notes i was playing with the grass. We were collecting leaves and grass and misc objects to create a robot family! Haha, it was great. I loved it. I miss caring and playing with little ones! I also miss the opportunities to let the inner child out! If i could i would be goofy and use my imagination to create a robot family out of leaves and dead grass every day! Also, i LOVED that i knew someone from the community! I am getting to know more and more people, granted she was a little kid, but i love it! I introduced myself to her dad bc her mom wasn't there! I'm sure i'll see them on Monday at the babes and tots class! Seeing them at the concert gives me something to talk about with her mom when i see her!

The little girl found a walnut and i didn't know that a walnut grew in such a large casing. I opened it and smelt it, and Jesse was like be careful because it will stain your clothes and fingers. (Us Scarff's have always had this instinct to smell a new object when it is presented to us. It's quite odd, but that's how we learn and explore!) After opening the walnut, I looked at my fingers and put them to the light of the computer and was like "nah it's clear, i don't see anything." Well low and behold, i woke up the next day with stained fingers looking like i played in a pile of dung. I was quite embarrassed and hoped no one would see them as i served them food at my part time job that night, which no one did, thank goodness. I should have listened to Jesse but my exploring instinct overcame that because i wanted to see what it was all about. Really i am a kid at heart that loves to experience new things and figure out how they work! The part about figuring out how things work comes from my papa s. He is always working on something or coming up with nifty ways to fix things. He always has a new gadget! I get that from him!  Along with my brown streak in my left eye. Every time i look at it, i think of him!

Home visit #1/Teen mom meeting

Well, my first home visit didn't happen. I arrived and there were two babysitters and their speech therapist, no momma. I gave her a call and she forgot that i was coming. We are now meeting next thursday and i'm going to give her a call the day before to remind her! But on a good note, one of the little boys recognized me from the last time i visited and was strutting his stuff. Haha. He was showing off! It was so cute! He was so excited to see me!

Also, next tuesday, i will be going into the high school here and teaching/doing an activity with the teen mom class of 12 students. I am very excited but nervous at the same time. For the activity, i think that the first 10 mins or so i will do an informative lesson about the baby etc. Then, we are going to make onesies (sp). I like that they can create something for the baby to come home in and it is personal. It's a gift from mom to the baby! I saw the idea on a special program online and loved the idea. I think that it will also bring the moms a little closer! We will see how it goes. Sometimes i think that something is a really great idea and then it back fires. But these moms are the ones i want to work with the most. I feel as if they are still very young and are going to be raising a child with no clue on how to do it. I hope that they have an open mind and want to learn as much as they can to help their babies. It's like a child raising a child, not in all cases but i feel as if the moms are still so young and have no idea what life has to offer.  I like that i can teach them to respect themselves and be a strong mom!

This meeting will be considered my monthly group meeting and i couldn't be more excited to get things rolling!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

1st home visit on my own!

Well today i will be going on my first home visit by myself today and I am nervous! I will be working with a family that has 8 children but primarily working with the children aged 2 and 9 mos. I do have some things i am worried about like what if we don't have anything to talk about? What if she isn't interested in what i have to say? What do i do in the awkward moments? I'm sure this is normal for the first time but i feel as if i direct my attention to the kids and what they are doing and things that might help them develop, all should go well! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well and she wants to continue! Def. will let you know how it went!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Think positive!

Looking at my experiences growing up and with my dad, i constantly try to remind myself to look past the bad and look at the good! Here are some of the good that i try to remember and embrace.

A stronger/closer relationship with my siblings and mom
A willingness to open up and express who i am and my feelings
My strength
My love and passion to help
Some things my dad taught me:
  • how to cook
  • how to camp 
  • how to appreciate nature and what it has to offer
  • children are something to be celebrated
  • you must work hard for what you want to achieve
  • to be spontaneous 
  • to explore
  • i think most importantly, he showed me how to care and help people
I must say, i think that all these experiences would have been different if it wasn't for my mom. She always and still does put us, her children, before anything else. She was our wall, our support, and continues to be my back bone. I wouldn't be where i am today if it wasn't for her, her strength, her drive, her love, and her courage.

Like i said, what happened only makes me stronger, it has shaped me into the woman i am today. Everyone has quirks in their lives that they must get past!  It's funny after moving here and starting AmeriCorps, i feel as if the "happy" Jenni is coming back! I have noticed that i am laughing more and enjoying life! Through AmeriCorps, I will be helping many people, but AmeriCorps is helping me as well!

How could i forget?

This past saturday i attended a childbirth class! It was amazing! I am trying to get as much training and experience in labor and delivery, breastfeeding, pregnancy, etc. really anything having to deal with moms and their pregnancies before, during, and after. OK so i have seen births on tv but the actual area was blurred out and couldn't see the birth really well etc. In this class, i witnessed a full on up-close and personal birth. I almost cried. It was amazing. I wanted to jump in and help. This class really strengthened my passion to help moms have their babies! I think it's funny, when i was 10, i asked my parents if i could watch my littlest sisters birth, but sadly they said no. To this day, i wish they would have let me. haha. But ill be seeing my share of births as life goes on.

I am hoping that one of these moms i am working with will want me to be with them through this amazing journey!  I can't wait to help them through the adventures of pregnancy and show them the joy of children!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Past, the Present, and the Future

Well the babes and tots class went well but what a shock. There were so many babies not wanting to participate and be quiet, which was expected but imagine 12 babies aged 0-18 months trying to learn how to sign and sing at all the same time. The instructor seemed to get annoyed with the mothers who let their kids roam free. But it went well. I learned some new signs and think that the class will be great! It will be something i try and get moms to do with their children! Also, i felt a little weird because i was the only person there without a baby so i was sitting there singing to myself and signing with myself while all the other parents toddled with their babies. But quickly got over that. haha. I am looking forward to the next class on monday!

Today, my dad would have been 50. He has been gone now for about 1.5 years. It's strange not having him here but he was never really there the past three years and here and there before he died. Sometimes i am very mad at him for not trying to beat the evils within him, but others i understand how they could overcome someone. At times, i feel as if he was a tortured soul and couldn't figure out how to pull through and grow. I feel as if children are the best present on earth and wonder why we were not enough for him to overcome his pains and see the good he had brought into the world and want to change for us. My dad and i never had the best relationship, which i hate and don't mind at the same time. I didn't have a great relationship with him but with my mom, i was and am her support. I feel that i was looked upon as another parent in the family because of all the responsibility placed upon me and the roles i served in each of my siblings lives. It ruined the sister relationship i have with them. I don't know how to be a sister, i only know how to be a second mom always looking out and guiding versus being a sister to them. But maybe that is what sisters are for? Maybe that is why i am here? This is something that i am working on but really have no clue on how to do this. With Rachael, i was her "second mom." I watched over her like a hawk and she always came to me. This whole not knowing how to be a sister really affects my relationship with my brother. I wish it was different. He is only 16 but i feel as if there is something we can talk about and bond over. My sister Aubree and I have always had differences because of our relationships with our dad. I wish it wasn't like that but i feel as if we are growing and fixing what was lost. All in all, i want to be able to be that big sister and trying to work on it as a whole. Not all bad has come from the situation. It has brought us all closer than we ever have been and is simply amazing. I love it. I love how we can come together as a family and show how we cared for one another and how we want to help each other. We are all going through difficult times each in our own way. This experience has taught me the importance of family and the power of words.  I have seen my family grow from not really expressing how we feel and being afraid of who we are to standing up for how we feel and not being afraid of who we are and what we have been through. We all have become stronger people. I find it important to tell my story and feelings. There is someone out there that is/was in a similar position and maybe my experience can help them in some way. Not only might it help someone but it feels good to let it out and talk about it. It conveys to people why i am a certain way. I have found myself just plain out telling a stranger what i had been through and what i continue to fight. It's a moment where i can breathe. I like that i might be able to reach out to someone and that they might reach out to me. Really i look for people that have been in the same situation and someone to connect with about it not necessarily in words but understand what it is like to have lost a father, to know what it is really like to not have a dad figure in your life that was positive, a dad that had two different personalities.  I like knowing that someone elses heart is hurting like mine, not because i want them to hurt but because we can relate.

You may be wondering why i wrote about this because it doesn't pertain to AmeriCorps but it is a part of my life! It is something that i think about everyday and battle everyday to figure out. If affects me in many ways. I feel better talking about it and organizing my thoughts and feelings. Many of you don't know i feel and when i have talked about it have brushed it off as something little and oppp it happened and i have forgotten about it. But that's not true. I think about my dad everyday and what my siblings and mom are going through. I think about what i can do to help them but realize they are going to have to figure it out on their own, just as i am trying to do. I am always thinking about how i can help someone get out of this situation. At times when someone jokes "i'm going to kill myself," what they see in my eyes is true care and compassion, for not taking that away from yourself, as they wonder why i looked at them that way. Take that moment and think about the peoples lives you have touched and how you affect them. I know they are joking but they don't know the pain i feel because someone who matter to me took their life and left his family behind. He took away the chance of  fixing a broken father-daughter relationship and making it into something better and great. He let something take over his mind and body. Now, there he lies without knowing i graduated/one class away with a degree in elementary education. He doesn't know the woman i have grown into and the compassion and love i hold to help people. He will never meet my loved one, my boyfriend, my partner through life, Jesse, which breaks my heart, and he will never meet my children. He will never know that i want to become a midwife and share the joy of bringing children into this world. Maybe he knows, but i will never know that he knew of my compassion and heart. He will always know that he had four great, intelligent, children that want to make a difference and help the people around us. Each of us have a heart too big for our chests and the power to help. That is exactly what we will do, help those in need.

R.I.P. Dr. Benjamin C. Scarff
You are missed

Monday, October 4, 2010

Babes and Tots

Today, i will be attending an 8 week long class, every monday, with moms and their tots. I will be creating a brochure each week to hand out and leave in the library. I have the first one done! This class should be fun. The lady/instructor will be teaching the parents how to use sign language to communicate with their babies. I am really excited about this because I hope to be able to do this in the future with my own kids. When I was babysitting for a family, the little girl knew how to sign a few words and I was amazed because she was able to tell me what she wanted without using her words, which she hadn't started talking yet. I loved every moment of it and want to be able to teach a bit to my children and help others teach their children as well. It should be a fun and exciting experience. I'm glad i am able to attend the classes!

So here is the first of many newsletters. There will be 7 more along with some general brochures that will be placed in the library for parents or future parents to pick up. I think that they will be a great help to some, well i hope they will help!