Social Work Students Learn as They Love
A group of students from Asbury University’s Social Work Program recently had an opportunity to bless some women in a Louisville shelter while learning about homelessness from a more personal perspective.
The students arrived at Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville, Ky., on a Friday evening and immediately moved into several different service stations: dinner preparation and service, child care and cleaning silverware, for example. Sophomore Lisa Troyer joined another student in ironing tablecloths, an activity that allowed for meaningful conversation with some of the mission’s residents.
“I was able to talk with some amazing women there and learned a lot from them,” Troyer said. “Their attitudes towards life and the tedious tasks involved in working eight hours in the laundry room basement were very inspiring. I was happy to hear that I was assisting in ironing tablecloths for a banquet that would take place the next night, and that it was the least favorite job of the woman I was talking to. I loved being able to serve her in that way.”
The students stayed at the mission overnight and got up the next morning ready to show love to the facility’s women residents by hosting them for a “spa day.” There were stations for hair, make-up, nail painting, foot washing and crafts, along with child care, and through careful preparation, the Asbury group was able to leave wrapped children’s toys, water bottles, tote bags and a donated box of cosmetics at the center.
“It was amazing to see how many women wanted to participate in crafts,” Troyer said. “One woman smiled the entire time that she was with us and said, ‘I feel like a little girl again!’ Since we had invested a bit in the supplies, the women were able to use their imagination and creativity, and it didn’t take long until they were creating snowmen that I hadn’t even thought of before. Jewelry was a major hit, and it was nice to see their satisfaction and happiness when they made their own jewelry that looked like they had bought it in a store.
“I learned that doing something as simple as making a snowman out of socks can make a large impact and bring joy. So many of the women that came to the craft table were making their craft for someone else, either their grandchildren, children, or friends. They were happy to have the opportunity to make something for someone else, and it really warmed my heart to see such generosity.”