When I signed up to work at Casa de Esperanza, I thought that the people I would be serving would be the kind of people that you could tell were in need of help. I figured I would be speaking a lot of Spanish, working with people on welfare, or that would have been if they had qualified, and a lot of undocumented immigrants. I thought there was going to be a lot of pressure on me to guide their lives through periods in which they needed a great deal of help with big, huge problems--after all, immigrants face a lot of problems in the U.S.--we learned that last year, and I see immigrants facing problems in the other organizations with which I serve.
What I really see, at least on my weird shifts at Casa, are a lot of smaller problems, or things that aren't even problems at all. Most people who come in are kids or young people who need to check their myspaces. There have been a few people who needed to use a phone, or fax something like a job application or resume, which are legitimate problems I guess, but the myspace thing is what really bugs me. I feel like there are people in the community who really do need help, and I'm sitting there supervising people get on myspace. Also, most of the people who come in speak to me in English, which makes me think that they don't really need to be in a place that specializes in Spanish-language resources.
Some really random people come to Casa, which I think is really cool. There was the stylish salon owner, the high school girl with the transformers backpack, the creepy man with the purse shaped like lingerie who comes a lot, the random tweens who hang out a lot, the little girl with a huge attitude who says "peace" every time she leaves, the random toddler who kept coming in yesterday, the little kid who I call "Spiderkid" because he likes to climb, the woman who tried to sell me Mary Kay...I guess there are plenty of clients at Casa, come to think of it, it's just that most of them come to use the computer, not my skills.
Tuesday there's a meeting for all the volunteers at both Casa de Esperanza locations, and I think that will help me feel a little bit better about my job and if I really am doing something important. If nothing else, I'm there to answer the phone and tell people when we close, I guess.