Posts Tagged With: facebook

“It’s an undergrad dorm, what do you expect?”

(WARNING: People with Arachnophobia, this post contains material about spiders.)

“We would like to apologize for the temperature in the building: it has been unseasonably warm recently. According to a Chicago City Ordinance 13-196-410 Residential buildings: “Every family unit or rooming unit to which heat is furnished from a heating plant used in common for the purpose of heating the various rooms of the dwelling shall be supplied with heat from September 15th of each year to June 1st of the succeeding year…” Thus, we are not able to turn our HVAC system over from heat to air yet, but please feel free to call the City of Chicago to address this issue. And again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. ” – Facebook post from management

Soon after reading the Facebook post from management, I read a comment by another tenant:

“The small opening of our window (which has been broken all year by the way) is not enough to cool down the apartment. Bugs and spiders also come in. May 31st cannot come soon enough.”

We had cracked our windows open too. My eyes slowly moved to my ceiling and lo and behold, two inch-long spiders had already finished intricate webs above my desk. Another had made a web across our window, and yet another was watching over Renee’s laundry basket.

"I'ma shoot a parachute out mah butt and peace out, yo!!"

Spiders apparently engage in something called ballooning where they shoot little web-parachutes out of their hineys and get dragged around. For them, it’s an alternative to climbing things like, say, our apartment building. The Chicago Sun Times cheerily reports that this “Spiderfest” is a common occurrence in the Loop. Skyscrapers help create strong drafts that take ballooning spiders and whisk them up to the windows of classy lofts, and of course, our student housing. I find this fascinating and I have a profound respect for spiders and what they do (eat bugs I hate). But in my 5’0″ glory, gathering every spider into a little glass jar and setting them free outside was going to be a potentially risky task. So I whispered apologies as I picked up my shoe.

It’s an undergrad dorm, what do you expect?

Well, certainly not what happened that night. I was sitting in a chair and drawing when Renee’s timid little voice called out: “Ummm..!” She was standing in front of our room the carpet sopping wet beneath her. Indeed, when I stepped on the carpet myself, water spouted up like that scene from that Disney movie Dinosaur (2000) when Aladar found water by stomping down on seemingly dry ground. Apparently, people three floors up had left their sink running, draining water down into the apartments below.

I was at practicum when Renee called me, letting me know that our carpet was being torn up and they were putting de-humidifiers and fans in the room. She told me to come back to the apartment later to see if we wanted to temporarily re-locate to another unit for a few nights until the carpet was dry.

I came back to find this, and the answer was immediate. We packed up a few necessities and moved down a few floors, and will be spending the weekend in an otherwise unoccupied unit until the building has fixed our room. Admittedly, it’s nice and quiet down here and if anything, Renee and I have been enjoying the little change of pace.

Hmmm…

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Helping the Homeless: Small Things Matter

His name: Revolution MacInnes. 

Hearing Rev’s story was inspiring. He used to be homeless, but found out how to get his needs met by using social media. He is no longer homeless, and has started an organization called “Small Things Matter”, in which he wants to use this same method to help others who are still homeless. In particular, he wants to accomplish this by identifying and helping those people whose situations would be improved if they had a small need met, hence the name of the organization.  Eventually, he wants to add questions to the homeless shelter intake forms to identify these small, important needs as quickly as possible.

So what do we mean by a small need? Well, here’s an example. A man named Steve lost his glasses. His inability to see well lost him his job at a car washing business. In losing the job, Steve lost the ability to pay for housing, and ended up homeless. Rev helped him find the resources to get at a new pair of glasses, and Steve was able to both get his old job back and even get a second job working with animals. Those glasses, a relatively small need, made a big difference. And it’s those needs that Small Things Matter hopes to help with.

We’re using social media to increase awareness and find support (which means I actually had to bite the bullet and learn Twitter). But through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress, the organization has been growing like crazy.

And watching that process has been such an experience.

Rev, Bri (the other intern), and I bring our laptops to a local Starbucks and do our internet-based work together. Now Rev, being a very sociable guy, is not afraid to talk to people sitting around us. Through simply talking to people, he’s found contacts. He’s found other people who are trying to start their own organizations, he’s found computer programmers, and life coaches. In addition, Small Things Matter has connections to cosmetologists, professors, and psychologists. And then there’s the two therapists in training (Bri and me).

So we’ve got this hodgepodge of people with seemingly non-related professions. What good is this? You’ll be amazed. Working with Small Things Matter has taught me an inspiring lesson: anyone can make a difference. Even I, an awkward psychology student with no clinical experience, can do something to help by offering my modest research skills. We’ve been receiving help with our website, support/advice for our research, ideas for fundraisers, and the list keeps growing. People willing to help the homeless in their own way are lending their talents, gifts, and abilities to aid in the cause. It’s this teamwork that is helping this non-profit organization gain more momentum.

So hopefully this has grabbed your attention. Wanna donate your time and talents to helping the homeless? Got ideas or insight? Maybe you’ve got a few bucks you want to give? Heck, perhaps you’re just curious. For more information about Small Things Matter, go to: http://smallthingsmatter.org/

Thank you for reading! God bless!

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