On Monday, students who attend weekly service at the Siena/Francis House were invited to come together for a social analysis to discuss issues surrounding poverty and homelessness. Every week at the Siena/Francis House, Creighton students eat dinner with the residents and then listen to the story of someone in the Addiction Recovery Program.
It is an impacting service site, a place where I have discovered the importance of community and of feeling listened to. After doing service that deals with a certain issue, it’s important to come together and discuss that issue in order to reflect on the service and truly bring about social change.
At this social analysis, we brainstormed religious, economic, social, political, healthcare-related, and educational questions that surround the issue of homelessness. Some things that came up were mental healthcare, minimum vs. livable wage, access to a quality education, and how possible it is to climb the social-economic ladder. We then drew connections between all of the different issues in order to see how many different factors there are that affect homelessness, and how they are related. For example, with mental health problems, it is difficult or even nearly impossible to find a job, affecting the ability to make a living wage. Or, with no access to a quality education, finding a job and making professional connections is very difficult.
It can be daunting to look up at a whiteboard full of questions and issues that affect homelessness in the United States. Social analysis shows how complicated the problem is, and how many different areas there are within it that need work. It is important to use service as the first step, and to then use what we learn in service to advocate and work to change social structures that cause problems, in order to promote social justice and a better world.
Class of 2015
The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.