Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 21: Caffeine and love make the world go round.

The down-to-earth admissions of Shakespeare's Sonnet 21 started my day. Papa and I then drove to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where I was to meet Gina Bulett at 9. Gina works with Sasha Bruce's Intensive Third Party Monitoring (ITPM) program, so she often accompanies her clients to their court hearings as a supporter and advocate. As we awaited the child she was accompanying today, Gina explained the juvenile court system to me in depth -- what an utterly fascinating lesson.

This morning was particularly chaotic at the courthouse. One of Gina's long-term clients had been arrested for simple assault the night before -- she had gotten into a fight with a cousin. This would normally not be a terribly serious charge, but the court records had her listed as a major, under which circumstances her case would carry much more dire repercussions. After running around speaking with attorney after attorney, we finally found out that the case would not be recorded, since the incident had been a "criss-cross," or occurred among two family members.

Another of Gina's duties at an ITPM is to perform in-school checks for students she is monitoring. When we left court, we walked two miles to Dunbar High School to check on one student, and then took a bus to Browne Education Campus to check on another two. On the way, Gina talked almost as fast as she walked. A whirlwind of energy, she managed follow-ups from the morning case, scheduling for afternoon counseling sessions with multiple clients, and coordination of her own move next month -- all while we walked from one place to the other. In between phone calls, she talked to me at a mile a minute, telling me about her time at Georgetown, explaining various social issues encountered by SBY staff, and sharing her personal inspiration to help this population -- like all the Sasha Bruce employees I have met, she loves the kids with whom she works.

After stopping by CVS to grab some shoe insoles for my aching feet (as well as a sandwich made by a company called "Panache!"), we went to the home of another client, K. She was not there, but we checked in with her mother and invited K to come by later in the day.

Back at the office, Jessie invited me to sit in on her weekly consultation with Ginny, SBY's magic-working Clinical Director. During this meeting, Jessie filled Ginny in on tricky sessions she had had with one particular family. When she explained to Ginny the family's communication style, as well as some of the challenges they are facing, Ginny made a few recommendations on how to more clearly get through to them. Sitting in on this conversation after having observed and interacted with some clients throughout the day was a highly useful extrapolation on the lessons we learned during didactic training last week.

When this meeting was over, I popped over to Gina's office, and K was there! They were preparing for an interview K will have tomorrow with YouthBuild, a Sasha Bruce program to prepare teens for the workforce. During this session, I received a text from the lovely Laura Kambourian, who had come to visit me at work! We were united up the street from SBY, and shared a snack at Hello Cupcake before I gave her a tour of the office. Metrobound, we met with Jessie and I was able to introduce the two! I love when one person I love meets another person I love. LOVE!

We hopped on the train and chattered until Laura came to her stop, the Smithsonian. I went on to Farragut West, and filled Papa in on my ineffably remarkable day all the way home. When we got back, I sprinted to my room and took a 14-minute nap followed by a 16-minute shower, before getting started on this post.

In the evening, Priya and I dressed as "twins" and we all went out to dinner with Sunanda Auntie (Mama's childhood friend) and Monty Uncle, who are moving back home to India in November. It was wonderful to catch up with them, and I hope to see them when I am in New Delhi this winter!

Today was quite a day. I am thankful for every step I take, but quickly running out of positive adjectives to describe my astounding days. May such "shortages" abound in my life always.

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