Saturday, April 28, 2012

Disciples of Christ - Amate Magic 2012

Our "Disciples of Christ" video featured at this year's Amate Magic is now online!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Program and Recruitment Coordinator II

Hello friends,

Amate House is seeking candidates for our Program and Recruitment Coordinator II position!  Please visit our listing on NPO for more information:

All inquiries can be directed to Ryan Lents at  Resumes and Cover Letters will be accepted until Friday, May 4.  The tentative start date for the position is July 1, 2012.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Putting Together Puzzles

The following is a reflection written by Nicole Ashley, one of this year's Little Village House Volunteers.

In college, I heard that applying to medical school was like putting together a puzzle of yourself— showing as many sides of yourself as possible and how they all fit together with the goal of becoming a physician. Grades, MCAT scores, letters of recommendation, volunteer experience, research, tutoring, employment, other activities, they each form a piece. Without any few pieces of this puzzle, one can still distinguish the images there, but the more pieces one is able to contribute, the clearer the picture ends up—and the better chance of getting into medical school. At the same time, the number of puzzle pieces is not the only important factor in revealing the picture of who you are; the pieces must be clear and the right fit with each other to construct the best puzzle. I learned that applying to medical school involves understanding many different elements of ourselves and how they interact. Not only must we challenge ourselves in a variety of ways, we must do so consistently to provide a comprehensive picture of ourselves and our motivations.

Well, now that I’m on my way to medical school this fall, I can forget about that whole puzzle analogy, right? It served its purpose.  I got where I wanted to go.

Actually, not the case. Working with health care providers, case managers, therapists and medical assistants on a daily basis at Erie Family Health Center, I have come to realize the importance of putting together multiple perspectives to reach a common goal. It is so applicable to all aspects of patient care, not just applying to medical school. I believe this is best demonstrated by how my team starts our day three mornings a week in what is called a case conference. For whichever of our over 200 HIV-positive patients with an appointment that day, we attempt to put the pieces together. The case managers often have valuable information that the patient has neglected to tell the doctor. Perhaps the patient is afraid to discuss substance abuse with the medical provider but has previously done so with the case manager. In case conference, an opportunity exists for discussion about this sensitive issue, possible resources and how to approach them. However, the patient might have mentioned missed doses of medication with their health care provider, who can approach the case manager and suggest further adherence counseling. We have had discussions that ensure the patient’s preferred name is used—we serve several transgender patients who prefer names that are different from those in their electronic medical record.  Quality medical care involves both broad scopes and deep digging; compiling each individual concern with the ability to look at each issue in depth. The puzzle is both complete and clear.

So, what’s the lesson from all this? From my time at Erie, I have begun to more clearly see the importance of each team member’s contribution to the care of our patients.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to interact with such a variety of professions within the health care field.  Each perspective is valuable and contributes to the medical care as a whole. And what’s next? For one, plenty more puzzles to put together, while realizing that none is ever truly complete. For many of our patients with depression, substance abuse, or housing issues, HIV is the least of their problems. Constructing each puzzle is a gradual process involving the maintenance of a relationship with the patient, and vast networks of additional relationships in the health care team.

Finishing the puzzle? Not quite. It’s only just beginning.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Images from our Stations of the Cross Reflections

For Good Friday, we are sharing some images from our recent Stations of the Cross reflections, led by our South House Volunteers.  The Amate House family wishes you and blessed and holy Easter Triduum!!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Stations of the Cross - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

During Holy Week this week, we will be featuring reflections by our South House Volunteers centered around the Stations of the Cross, which commemorates the Passion of Jesus.

Today, for Holy Thursday, we share a reflection by Kalli Vaughan on the Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus.

To start this station I want you to briefly call to mind a painful or terrible situation that you have experienced. We often do not want to think about these situations, but instead we fight to repress these awful memories. Now think is there someone who helped you out of this pain? Someone who is always there for you during these rough times? Or is there some help you wish you would have had?

Jesus provides us the best example of how to be a friend and comfort, even to the point of sacrificing his own life. As we hear in the fifth station, Simon of Cyrene also provides a fantastic way to be a friend, literally shouldering a crushing burden for a stranger. However, Veronica?? What does Veronica really do? She sees Jesus covered in blood, completely ravaged by the blows of the soldiers’ whips, exhausted from carrying a very heavy tree, and crushed by the impending death he knew he would suffer in a matter of minutes and Veronica wipes his face? To me this seems a little like offering a band-aid for a gushing wound. What difference does it really make? Why are we talking about Veronica some 2,000 odd years later when all she really did was take away some blood that would just return in a matter of seconds?

The story that goes unheard of, is who is Veronica actually, and why despite not being in the bible does she have such a prime place in the Paschal mystery? Well tradition has it that Veronica is actually Sheraphia, a woman who was married to a very powerful Jewish Man and as a result could only follow Jesus in secret. Thus as she stood amongst the crowd that followed Jesus on the way of the cross, she had a difficult choice, join the rest of the people and do nothing, or step outside of herself and do something. By performing this very simple gesture of offering her veil, she risked her marriage, her status, and perhaps even her life.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Stations of the Cross - Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross

During Holy Week this week, we will be featuring reflections by our South House Volunteers centered around the Stations of the Cross, which commemorates the Passion of Jesus.

Today, for Holy Wednesday, we share a reflection by Tori Dice on the Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross.

As you might already know this year I have been working at Girls in the Game. From the outside looking in, this non-profit provides sports, health, and leadership opportunities for girls all around Chicago. Personally, I oversee 6 afterschool programs for 3rd-5th graders and coach at four of them. While we do coach the girls on sports, health, and leadership, there is so much more to these programs than meets the eye. After almost 8 months of having an insider’s perspective, this position is not just teaching girls sports. It is developing relationships with them! The more time that passes, the more these girls open up to me and share their lives with me.

Having insight into the culture of adolescent girls has been rather entertaining. Hot Cheetos are the snack of choice. Math is hated among all but endurable thanks to stickers and colorful pens. They forget to bring their field trip forms to the coaches every time, but without fail can recite every word to every song of Mindless Behavior..and Princeton without a doubt is cutest band member.

If you appreciate an honest opinion and blunt statements, you should join me in a day of after school programming. Nine and ten-year old girls hold nothing back. I have been told that my hair looks better down, my teeth look yellow from coffee, and asked if I was married. I was told I sound like Miley Cyrus, advised to bring Hot Cheetos as a snack, and informed that I act like I ate a whole bowl of sugar before programming. While sometimes their comments can be inappropriate, I can’t help but laugh at their blunt statements and lack of filter. I appreciate this raw honesty that girls still possess at this age because it is this very quality that allows them to share with me difficult things in their life as well.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Condemned to Death

During Holy Week this week, we will be featuring reflections by our South House Volunteers centered around the Stations of the Cross, which commemorates the Passion of Jesus.

Today, for Holy Monday, we share a reflection by Becca Knight on the First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death.

The crowd, who a few short days before had been welcoming Jesus ecstatically, turns against him. They want blood and Pontius Pilate is weak. Pilate said: 'Shall I crucify your king?' The Chief Priests answered 'We have no king except Caesar.' So at that Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified. (John 19:15-16)

Jesus stood by himself in front of Pilate. He was defenseless. He was alone. I believe Jesus felt abandoned and afraid; he was being blamed and treated unfairly.

As I entered into my second year of post grad volunteering, I knew I wanted to do something different. Cue my arrival at the National Immigrant Justice Center, an immigration law office in downtown Chicago. I focus primarily on unaccompanied minors held in detention. We visit the kids each week, explain their rights, accompany them in court and advise on legal relief.