Travel Log: Rochester
Sister Eileen Reilly, SSND and Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDDeN
July 20, 2016
On Wednesday afternoon, we headed to St. Joseph Neighborhood Center in Rochester, New York. The medical center provides comprehensive care for the unemployed, uninsured or those with limited health care coverage. When we asked about their staffing, the director told us that they had 18 employees and 250 volunteers. Those volunteers include medical professionals from many different disciplines so the center can truly provide for almost all the physical and mental health needs of their clients in one location.
The personal respect given to each patient along with a thorough interdisciplinary approach in meeting the needs of the patient is the best that I have seen in this country. The community based center is an effective model for delivery of health care services. After the site visit, a rally was held with folks from the neighborhood signing onto the bus.
In the evening we held a caucus to Mend the Gaps at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY. Well over two hundred people attended and, in both in small and large groups, they shared the disparities of income and wealth inequality in their community and what they envisioned would be needed to Mend the Gaps.
When asked to name the gaps, poetically and poignantly, one of the gaps named was the “intentional silence” that can often surround the controversial issues.
It was especially inspiring to see that a large number of youth had come out for the event. Two of these high school students spoke about their advantages as students at a wealthy suburban school where the expectation is that every student will graduate from college, while just a few miles away there are schools that are underfunded and there is little expectation at those schools that students would even graduate from high school, let alone attend college. It was powerful to see these students aware of their own privilege and their commitment to Mend the Gaps!
There was a vision among the participants for affordable, quality housing and safe neighborhoods for all, where children would have playgrounds and everyone would know each other. It was a beautiful vision that seemed to be shared by the whole community.
After discussing the gaps and how to mend them, everyone was invited to sign a pledge card and there was great energy and enthusiasm for signing the bus!