Friday, March 9, 2018

James Madison University Students Spend Spring Break at Sheffield Place!

Sheffield Place is so much more than just a home for mothers and their children. It's the beginning of the rest of their lives. I am so impressed by all of the services it has to offer and how much progress the mothers make in such a short amount of time. Getting to know the clients this week taught me so much about family and resilience. The mothers at Sheffield Place are striving to heal and give their children a better life. I loved working on the houses this week know they were going to loving and deserving families. This week at Sheffield Place has inspired me beyond my expectations. 
— Grace Moran, Health Science major

Sheffield Place is an incredible community, organization, and home that JMU was lucky enough to be a part of this past week. Throughout our time here, we cleaned up new Sheffield houses by moving furniture, raking, sweeping, and landscaping. Spending this week with the resilient women and their children who live here, has taught me the power and importance of having a healthy love, a healthy mind and a healthy life. As this week comes to a close, I am so grateful for this opportunity and I am inspired to recreate the love and cornerstone Sheffield Place radiates, in my own life at JMU. 
— Paige Ridge, Speech and Hearing major 

I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my spring break than volunteering at Sheffield Place. As a college student at JMU it is typical for many students to head to the warm beaches of Daytona or Punta Canta for a crazy week, but after my experience at Sheffield Place I was not jealous of my peers whatsoever. The atmosphere here is so warm and inviting. Everyone supports and respects each other like family. Hearing the residents' stories were insightful and hopeful. I am so pleased to have helped build their homes and care for their children. Performing Sheffield Idol with the children especially made my week. They are all so talented, courageous, and supportive of each other. Sheffield Place is positively changing Kansas City one family at a time and I am greatful to have been apart of it. 
— Victoria Worthington, Graphic Design major

Inspiring, rewarding, positive, influential- all words to describe the amazing week of service I have had at Sheffield Place. From starting off the week by playing with the children in Project Hope to finishing off the week by doing Sheffield Idol- a talent show for the kids to participate in- the entire week circled around the children and their mothers. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these children every day and getting to know their wonderful personalities and resilient strength, it made the week of service that much more worthwhile. Getting to hear the clients’ stories about what brought them to Sheffield Place and what they hope for the future was very influential and inspiring. We also worked on houses acquired by Sheffield Place to make them live able for mothers and their families to live in the for the future. I’m so excited that these families have a safe place of their own to turn to after they leave Sheffield Place. Overall, my week at Sheffield Place hasn’t even felt like service or work, it has felt like home and a loving community that has been a privilege to work with.
— Erin Conolly, Hospitality major

I came into my week at Sheffield Place not knowing what to really expect but can confidently say that I am leaving with nothing but great memories. From the helpful guidance of the staff to the innocence and love of the children, I feel as if I am leaving a piece of my heart here in Kansas City. I am both humbled and grateful for the time I spent here with all the mothers and children. I saw true love, hard work, and a powerful sense of community amount these families. Thank you Sheffield Place for the good you put into the world.
— Lauren Valente, Communications major

Our five days of service were jam packed with laughter, smiles, and growth. We had the opportunity to renovate homes, complete various projects, learn from the resilient mothers, and connect with the astonishing kids. We were able to see all the services that Sheffield Place is able to provide to the population of mothers and their children experiencing homelessness in the Kansas City area.

It is extremely apparent that Sheffield Place is a community. During the talent show, Sheffield Idol, many kids were nervous. The other children got up and sang with them, told them they believed in them, and exuded endless support. In this moment, the mothers were able to see their children perform, and their kids were able to just be kids. The love across the mothers, children, volunteers and staff has fostered a true family under the roof of Sheffield Place.

-Katherine Gibson, Psychology major

Sheffield Place is truly a community and I saw that from the minute I walked in the door. Speaking with the clients was an eye opening experience and the hope that they had for the future filled me with joy. All the services that Sheffield Place provides for the families is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and I feel so privileged to have been a part of the Sheffield Place community for the week that I served there. 

— Abby Koenig, Special Education major

It is very hard to put this week into words.  To say that this experience has changed me is an understatement.  I have learned more about myself and the world around me than I ever thought possible.  I have learned about the strength and resilience of the human spirit.  The families I was lucky enough to meet this week have taught me lessons that I will treasure.  Their positivity, perseverance, and generosity continue to astonish me.  My experience at Sheffield Place in these short five days has made me laugh, cry, and most importantly, reflect and be grateful.  From working in the homes to hearing clients’, to Sheffield Place Idol, I will always be so appreciative of the love and respect I have gained from this incredible trip.
Emma Malloy, Health Sciences major

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Michigan State University Alternative Break Students Serve Families at Sheffield Place!

Students from MSU recently spent a week of their Winter Break at Sheffield Place performing a variety of tasks.  Here are some of the reflections they shared, quoted in whole or in part.

Volunteering at Sheffield Place during our winter break was a really touching and meaningful experience to me. I think that the activities we did at the beginning of our time here really helped establish a good idea of why being homeless was such a though situation to escape. Throughout the week we continued to help Sheffield with some smaller tasks such as raking yards, manage the gardens, build bunk beds, and deep clean. Although these were smaller tasks the staff was extremely appreciative and made sure we knew that the smaller tasks were sometimes the most helpful.

My favorite task was interacting with the children at the end of the day. The joy and energy they brought into the Project Hope program always lifted my spirits. The little things the children said and did always had me laughing. For example, one of my friends on this trip was pretending to be talking on the phone to one of the little girls. A few minutes into the “conversation” one of the little boys started to talk a little louder so the little girl turns to the boy and says, “shhhhh” with her finger to her mouth. She also adds in a whisper, “I’m talking on the phone.” The innocence and willingness to interact with us touched me.

I think along with the children the client who talked with us and her openness and willing to share her story with us was really impactful. She helped us understand the struggles that they are going through and their determination to overcome these struggles which really showed us how strong a lot of these women are. I wish the mothers and their children the best and I know with Sheffield’s Place these women will do great thing!

Allison, Microbiology Major

My time at Sheffield Place has been so much different than I had expected.  When I say different, I mean it in a great way.  I had honestly expected it to be somewhat of a shelter, when in reality it is so much greater and deeper than that.  It has been so heartwarming to see that Sheffield Place really cares about and works with the women and children.  If only there were more places like this, the world would be a much better place.  I’ve never seen a group of people or even an organization for that matter work so in-depth and hard to help women with addicition, mental health, and family.  The way that everyone here has.  It’s great to see that the focus is not only on today, tomorrow, and the near future, but also on the long term goals.  The lsrgest difference between Sheffield Place and everywhere else is how well rounded their staff and their resources are.  I was amazed by all of the help and services that are provided right here on the property.  Another really great thing that caught my attention is how the agency wants the women to have great success when they are ready for life away from the agency.  The fact that houses are bought and fixed for the women to start a new and healthy life is so great to me.  While working with a staff member this week, I feel like I got a different and more in-depth view of how the facility functions.  Everyone works for the success of the women and children.  The children are a whole different dimension of the operation.  We spent a decent amount of time in the children’s program, which was such a fun and joyful experience.  The women that run the program are so talented and work so well to teach the kids how to work with others and listen to directions.  Overall, there are so many incredible dimensions that come together to form a wonderful program.  I hope that more communities notice the work and progress of Sheffield Place and follow in the footsteps to make the world a much greater place!  Thank you for this opportunity.

Emily, Biomedical Laboratory Sciences and Spanish

I have learned a lot from my experience at Sheffield Place, and I will take back with me a new understanding of service.  When I arrived, I rationalized that service is an option that some of us choose to do, while others tend not to.  However, Sheffield Place has opened my eyes to the ideal that service is an attitude we manifest.  Through the week, the women are able to not only learn the skills and lessons needed in life, but also understand the beauty in helping others.  It is the overall attitude of the agency that creates an environment of perseverance. 
Steven, Human Biology

Coming to Sheffield Place really opened my eyes to the trauma some people have to experienced and the strength it takes on a daily basis to push on.  The staff, mothers, and children have inspired me more than anything else in my 20 years of life.  Hearing these women’s stories and seeing how far they’ve come is truly breathtaking.  The hope that lives inside Sheffield’s door is something that I believe should exist everywhere.
Phoebe, Physiology major/Chinese minor

I feel the structure that Sheffield Place has is excellent and keeps the clients on track.  My time has been eye opening meeting families and learning their stories.  The staff have been amazing by sharing a part of their story and helping us feel like part of their family.
Matias, Social Work major

For me, hearing the stories showed me how strong a mother can be for herself and her children.  The kids were amazing to hang out with and develop a friendship.  I enjoyed hearing one high schooler’s plan for college and her determination to further her education at college.  It’s a memory that I’ll always remember fondly.

Katie, Neuroscience

While listening to a client speak, it really opened my eyes that addiction can start at a young age especially encouraged by family members.  Listening to her and her goals of getting custody of her older child as well as getting her truck drivers license was inspiring.  I loved working with the children and getting to see them interact with their moms. 
Morgan, Social Work

My perspective on poverty, addiction, and mental health has completely changed.  Sheffield Place opened my eyes to not only the trauma these women face, but also the long and mentally straining process towards recovery.  Despite hardships, they still were looking up and it’s so beautiful and gratifying to see them smiling with their children. 

Choe, Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Biology

Sheffield Place has an atmosphere like none I have ever experienced.  The staff is caring, compassionate, resourceful, and extremely well trained.  You can feel their passion for not only helping the clients, but also allowing themselves to grow along with the clients they serve.  Their passion is contagious.  I will never forget the kind-hearted nature of the workers, the seet smiles and willingness to share of the mothers, and the excitement, smiles, and innocent nature of the children.
Kendra, Social Work

Overall, it was amazing to hear about how far the mothers have come and about their growth.  Sheffield Place is an extraordinary place with a program that works to help families.

Kristen, Chemical Engineering

My time volunteering was eye opening.  After observing the mothers and children, I realized that everyone has struggles, some worse than others.  The children are cute, funny, and bring so much joy.  It felt good to be a part of something, even in a small way.  People are the way they are for many reasons.  I hope to do more work in human services and am grateful for what Sheffield Place does for the Kansas City community.

Erin, Social Work