Our Front Porch at the Windermere Apartment Fire Disaster Assistance Center

Our Front Porch helps out at the Windermere Apartment Fire Disaster Assistance Center, passing out free undies and socks, building a list of cilents needing services, and educating people on what long term recovery looks like. Click image for video (OFP is at 1:09!)

This Work is Hard

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Olivia Vanni/The Victoria Advocate/Associated Press

Coming into this internship, I did not know what to expect. I had little to no clinical experience, I had never worked with the ‘short term’ homeless population nor clients who had severe trauma, and I honestly did not know how to do case management, let alone effective case management. However, while being a part of this organization, I learned how to do all of this and so much more. I learned that trauma can manifest in completely different ways within the same disaster, and that people are the most resilient when something tragic happens to them. From clients that have anxiety and depression, to clients that just want to move on; they are all resilient and deserve help. Another thing that I learned is that I am so irritated with how our society is ran. These types of clients (short term homeless) get little to no assistance through resources through in communities; why you ask? Because these people are physically not living on the street; per the homeless requirement in Denver, so they do not meet the criteria for government aid.

How messed up is this?

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Sympathy is a Garbage Emotion

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

While working at Our Front Porch I have been able to hone some really useful skills, but one thing seems to stick out the most. Our Front Porch has given me an outlet to truly understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Some people see these words as synonyms, but they are quite different. There are four words that I would consider to be related, but distinguishable: pity, sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Sympathy and empathy tend to be the two ideas that are intertwined the most. I would argue that empathy includes a component of connection and emotional intelligence that only comes from practice.

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The Art of Communication

Maggie’s Perspective

As one of my favorite Phish lyrics states, “I see the path ahead of me and in a minute I’ll be free”.

I am now free and living the so-called American Dream. It has been two months since I joined OFP full time and it is amazing. I work for myself, make my own hours and have no one telling me what to do.

I have worked very hard my entire career and have been focused on getting to this place. I’ve developed clinical programs, managed a variety of professionals, and am confident in my work surrounding disaster survivors. Heather and I have worked together for several years and have our flow down.

Heather & Maggie at Colorado Impact Days.

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The Art of Communication

Heather’s Perspective

I can honestly say that I have been looking forward to Maggie being full time at OFP for a long time – probably even longer than she has. I knew we needed to get to this point for a thousand different reasons, but mainly because I knew I couldn’t do it alone. As the one with the more flexible schedule for the last 2 years, I was the one who kept this ship sailing on a daily basis. Now, that is not to say the ship was moving in the right direction. It was just staying afloat.

Maggie and I have always talked daily about OFP, but it was typically me throwing out a few ideas and asking her input on what was a priority. She is a natural leader and can see the big picture way more clearly than I can. I get stuck in the weeds over the smallest details and always looked to her to put me back on course. It’s the perfect partnership. So what could possibly be difficult about us working together full time?

Maggie & Heather’s contrasting DISC personality test results.

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10 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless

Part 2

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

In my most-recent blog post, I wrote about the fact that until I began working with Our Front Porch, I had no idea just how difficult it is to become totally stable after living in that type of unstable environment. The difficulties of trying to save money and start fresh, all while searching for house and looking for a job, are magnified with you’re also trying to support children or a family. And unfortunately, there are other factors that make the recovery process so difficult to navigate.

Photo Credit: Matt Longmire

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10 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless

Part 1

Guest Blogger: Taylar McCoy, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

As a child, I remember riding in the back of a friend’s parent’s car on a brisk day where our breath fogged up the windows. We were driving through the heart of the city in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As we were covered in goosebumps, we pulled up to a red light where we saw a woman with a cardboard sign. After reading the sign describing her situation, and her two kids, my friend’s dad proceeded to say “why can’t she just go get a job like the rest of us? There’s no excuse to be homeless.” We drove past the woman and didn’t give her a second glance. As I grew up in the more rural outskirts of the city, I tended to start to share a similar mentality. I would often think about how if I see “now hiring” signs in windows everywhere, why are there so many homeless people?

Photo Credit: Daniel Nelson

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How Our Front Porch Helps

Guest Blogger: Paxton Leibold, Our Front Porch 2017-2018 Intern

Every person in the United States faces struggles on a daily basis. From running out gas, to losing a credit card; the human race struggles in every aspect of life. But what happens when a natural disaster hits and you lose everything you own and love? Would you be able to pick up and move on, know what to do, or be able to function soundly? I know in my personal life, I would not be able handle the most basic of everyday tasks. People are resilient and can handle so much, but sometimes they need help in this crisis period. I say this, because this is what I do in my internship: I help individuals who have lost everything due to a natural disaster.

Residents wade through floodwaters in Beaumont Place, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/Newscom

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home – Part 2

Our good friend Kim, who lives near Houston, Texas talks more about volunteering with the recovery efforts and community resiliency.

Donations being collected in Dallas for Hurricane Harvey survivors. Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez, AP Photo

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