Joe Morgan, a junior at Washington and Lee University, spent the last few days of his winter break from school volunteering at Family Scholar House. Below are his reflections from his time with us. Thanks, Joe, for your time and effort!
Over the past week I have had the opportunity to help out the community at Family Scholar House by volunteering. During my time here I have learned a great deal about the ways in which this organization carries out its mission of providing the opportunity for struggling single parents to earn a college degree. In turn I have learned more about the nature of service.
Stronger families are forged here by the resources needed to support healthy, happy lives and by the ability to maintain strong bonds and recognize the obligations family members have to one another. Family Scholar House is as much about providing these wonderful people the tools they need to succeed as it is about conditioning them mentally for the ups and downs every family goes through.
In many ways the participants in the program here are engaged in a process of healing and rejuvenation with one another, not simply focused on their own troubles. Residents come together and attend workshops that teach valuable life skills such as cooking classes. They learn to live together in the housing units provided by the organization and look out for one another, looking after each other’s kids while a parent is away, providing transportation if they own a car, or perhaps volunteering their time in one of the workshops.
It is a team effort. The common spaces buzz with residents asking after one another and offering advice.
The program is not, however, an isolated escape from the tumults of the world. It is a refuge for individuals who are driven to combat the harrowing obstacles of poverty. But it is up to the wider community of Louisville itself to provide these determined individuals a chance. Contributions of time and service to the program are the way the people of Louisville can help halt the negative cycle poverty exerts over members of our community.
In this regard the people of Louisville are certainly excelling. I had the task of organizing volunteer information for recent months and was blown away by the figures. Hundreds of volunteers help make the campuses of Family Scholar House function, contributing tens of thousands of hours by helping with events, tutoring, aiding in office tasks or maintenance work, or other useful areas.
The strong relationships built here and the habits which promote beneficial lifestyles strengthen the community at Family Scholar House and are carried confidently into the wider world. The community here relishes celebrating the graduation and subsequent achievements of participants, who continue to maintain contact with the organization and for whom resources are made available. Many of those who leave the program go on to work in fields which allow them to help other people, such as medicine and social work. In this way the actions of those who give their time to Family Scholar House contribute to a self-perpetuating cycle of good will and charitable action.
I personally have enjoyed my time helping out and I expect that I will continue to give my time here when I can. It is a great way to meet people working for the betterment of the community as well as young people who are overcoming tremendous adversity in order to succeed.