This summer I am working at Alameda Point Collaborative as their curriculum building intern for their Farm2Market program. Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) is a supportive housing community for families affected by poverty and homelessness. Residents work with on-site case managers and counselors to break down barriers to stability, while adults in the community may participate in their workforce development program and take advantage of one of their on-the-job training opportunities. Of the 500 people living at APC, 300 are children and youth who can get the help they need for academic success through APC’s education programs. The specific program I am working with is the Farm2Market program which is a paid On The Job Training (OJT) program for up to twelve formerly homeless individuals residing in APC’s supportive housing community. Farm production, produce sales, managing volunteer groups and practicing personal accountability all give our trainees a wide range of highly transferable skills to help them find meaningful employment. My role working with this program is to work on the farm and gather information about the duties of the trainees while developing a cumulative trainee handbook that covers important, generalizable workplace skills as well as specific information about the workings of the farm. My favorite part about my job so far is being able to work on the farm and talk to the members of the OTJ training program. I love being outside and working with my hands and being able to do so while listening to the stories of my co-workers who are members of the community we are living in together is extremely special.
I think a challenge to me, which I didn’t realize was a challenge until dinner tonight, is not having the support from our supervisors I was expecting. I listen to the other Micah members’ descriptions of the conversations they have with their bosses about race, and privilege, and the issues affecting the community they serve and realize that those conversations are something I am lacking. The work on the farm is difficult and challenging too of course, but it’s not the most shaking challenge for me right now. I need to be able to talk about what I am seeing and hearing and feel comfortable asking questions to these people who have been here and worked here the longest and I know I can learn so much from. I think that if I had that support, not only would I be better able to understand my place here, but my service, and the effect of it, would be benefitted as well. I just don’t feel that safe yet. I hope that this will change.