Finding Joy in Each Day

Photo of Chloe Alviz

I start my day at 7:30AM with my routine of tidying my bed, listening to music, and chatting with Savannah and Cristo as we prepare our lunches. Then, I hop into my service-provided twelve passenger van and head over to Catholic Charities Emergency Services (also known as the “Intake Center”) in the heart of downtown Syracuse. Clients can walk up to the front door, ring the doorbell, and speak to an Emergency Services staff member.

My activities at service depend on the weekday. Throughout each day, I speak with clients who visit our office. Clients ask about a variety of services: assistance with getting government documents (birth certificates, driver’s licenses), referrals to local childcare and housing resources, requests for relocation assistance to a shelter—just to name a few. I connect clients with the appropriate information about the resource. My busiest days are Tuesday through Thursday, which is when we operate our food pantry. During the pantry, I complete check-in and registration for our guests. Pantry days are my favorite, especially because I’ve become friendly with many of the regular guests! When the pantry is closed, I’ll be typically answering the door and spending my time researching the local social service agencies. Sometimes, I’ll shadow case workers while they speak with clients and assist them with cases as needed.

A major challenge at my service site is the lack of funding currently available for our back rent and security deposit assistance program. It’s definitely not good timing for this issue, especially with the ongoing housing crisis in Syracuse. It’s hard having to tell clients that we are unable to support them. I also occasionally encounter clients who may take out their frustrations on me and my co-workers, which is understandable, considering their high-stress circumstances. It can be easy to internalize other people’s feelings and to dwell on these tense conversations. However, I’ve come to give their sorrows up in prayer and to continue being a positive presence (even if that’s all I can do) during these clients’ period of struggle.

I typically come home by 4PM and I usually take the time before dinner to decompress. I like to relax by either taking a nap, catching up on my reading list, or going to the gym with my community members (treadmill girl!). I absolutely love the community dinners that we have at the house—as there is no shortage of laughs and unhinged silliness. When I’m cooking, I love to share traditional Filipino dishes like chicken adobo, sinigang, and bicol express with my community. Communal prayer is also a source of joy as it’s a great opportunity for us to praise God together and learn different styles of prayer. Finally, I’ll close my evening with long distance calls and a quick prayer of thanks to God for the day. Then, it’s time to do it all over again!

Categories: General

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