The OCP Blog

Our Partnerships With Local Universities

Each semester, OCP hosts a number of college interns and classes who are assigned to work at OCP. For this last year, we especially want to thank Cecily (a work study student) for her energetic service and great technical skills. The day after she finished she came back to volunteer! We also want to thank Jill Lassiter, professor of health and human sciences at Bridgewater, Bill Evans, professor of psychology at JMU, Sharon Maiewsky, professor of health sciences at JMU, and Erika Metzler-Sawin, nursing at JMU, for bringing their classes to volunteer, learn, and engage us. Dr. Lassiter shared with us comments her students wrote about the semester. This month I’ll share a few of them related to overcoming stereotypes:

“The biggest take away from the community learning project for me is the change in perspective I have toward people of the homeless community. Even after what we discussed in class, I still was having a very hard time shaking the stereotypes from my mind when we went to OCP. After having the opportunity to interact with the community members and talk to many of them, those old stereotypes began to die. I realized that they are simply people that were really down on their luck but weren’t any different from me or any of my peers.”

“I keep referencing the man with whom I played Frisbee. This is because his stories really changed the way I understood life. He told me a story about losing his father and knowing grief and struggling with jobs. He told me about his likes and dislikes, and I discovered that we were not so different after all…I am still astounded that I had stereotypes that I did not even recognize. I had placed him in a category before I even knew him, and the most shocking part of all is that I found myself in the same category as him by the end of our conversation.”

“Without a doubt, this experience challenged everything I thought I knew about the homeless. Society has placed a stereotype on them, making them out to be dirty, mean, and lazy. Honestly, the people at OCP were much friendlier than the people at school, and frankly, more active too.”

“I think what I have learned the most in this class is that people in unfortunate financial and living situations do not always have as much control over it as I once thought they did. I have grown to understand that in low-income communities the issues do not only lie with those within the communities, but that there are also societal and government issues [we have to address].”

More next month…

May we all find restoration and hope!

Sam Nickels

Executive Director