When I walked in, I was greeted by the sweet smell of spaghetti wafting from the kitchen.  Each member emerged from the kitchen with a steaming plate of noodles; some getting two bowls of pasta for their family seated on the couch.  The sound of Judge Mathus comingles with members’ discussions of hair color, working and baseball. Makia and I spend much of our time enjoying the welcoming environment with the members.

One of the members rushed in from work and asked us to help him apply for a job on the computer. He got a bit frustrated as we dictated the long list of directions on how to reset his password, and I began to see how hard it was to apply for jobs online.  He got confused when “goolgr.com” did not take him to his e-mail and became impatient as the computer took a long time to load. After thirty minutes, his ride came to take him home, and all we had done was reset his password and open the application. The application was almost as unforgiving as the process! The original website redirected you to an external website where you had to once again create a username and password. None of the work could be saved, so I reassured him that we would continue next week. He shook our hands and apologized for being so frazzled. He told us his boss had taken him out for drinks and he shouldn’t have drank. We nodded forgivingly and promised we would see him later.

Makia and I ended our volunteering quietly with a Friends episode; a hilarious episode where Rachel finds out she is pregnant and wants to tell the father. One member piped up that he has a guy friend who just found out that his girl is pregnant and they have an appointment at the Charlottesville Free Clinic (the Pregnancy Center of Central Virginia offers free and confidential services to all members of the Charlottesville/ UVA community).

Lauren Mims is a third-year English and Psychology student at the University of Virginia. She is from Fairfax, Virginia and volunteers at Madison House in the On Our Own program.

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