Each morning we wake up to eat breakfast and lunch with the men here at the Father McKenna Center. In between we clean, attend talks, and do activities with the men. Some of the men that we have gotten to know pretty well are in the McKenna Academy. This academy is designed to help the men grow in all aspects of wellness including emotional, mental, and spiritual health, as well as helping them to learn the responsibilities of home owning and self care. Today, our group led an activity with the academy men where we helped them to make a couple different origami designs (pictured above). It was a lot of fun for everyone!
After working in the center, we go out to tour the city. Yesterday, we visited tons of memorials: WWII, MLK, FDR, Lincoln, Washington, Vietnam, the White House, and Jefferson. We walked over 13 miles! On our adventure, we ran into a few other students from Gannon and took a group photo! Our group was really inspired by the social justice tones of the MLK and FDR memorials. We took a picture with this FDR quote: “The test of progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” We experienced a jarring juxtaposition walking through the abundance these memorials, so elaborate and justice oriented, when just a few blocks away, there were parks full of tents and men sleeping on benches. It is unsettling to see just how miserably we are failing the test that FDR put before us years ago. Our nation’s capital demonstrates just how much abundance we give to those who already have much while those who have too little are forgotten.
Today, we saw more impactful quotes, not chiseled in stone, but scrawled on cardboard. We visited a display called Invisible Words which the Ignation Volunteer Corps brought to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The artist who designed this exhibit had purchased signs from homeless people all over and framed them for display. It was remarkable to see the wide variety of emotions: sadness, shame, desperation, desolation, anger, fear, expressed on these signs through words, art, and poetry.