Thursday, June 14, 2018

--- Adventures in social work ---

                                                                  [Denver skyline]

After I left home, I took care of all my business. If they were able, my folks would have done everything for me but, although we always had what we needed, we often didn't get what we wanted and I was quite happy to make my own way in the world so I have no cause for complaint. In fact, it gave me plenty of opportunities to observe the workings of society. Since moving to Denver, although living with people that feel like family, I am still pretty much on my own - I pay all my bills and most of my activities, I do thimgs  alone.

When I was in graduate school training to be a rehabilitation specialists, I was told that, if I wanted to make money, I should go into the private sector and, if I wanted to help people, I should work the public sector. I wanted to help people so I'm now living on a small pension and Social Security. Luckily, my life style is not expensive.

As a rehabilitation specialist, I helped people get their lives started after a disabling condition. That meant that I had to know the social structure of the area so that I could help my clients get the services they needed. In my spare time, I worked with some of the social services as a volunteer, helped people find needed resources in the community, and helped organize benevolent organizations.

For most of my life, I have been intimately involved with social services.

I knew that states do things differently and that, when I moved to Denver, I would have to relearn the social structure of the area. Not only would I have to get myself re-established, but I was already in contact with a homeless man that I was to help get his career started back up. I'm still studying the social services here because I would like to see the huge homeless population in the area become homed.

But I'm on Social Security and am about to switch over to Medicare, so I'm managing paper work. I got a request to bring some papers to the Human Services Office to validate my unearned income for last year. That involved a cross town bus ride so I decided to take care of multiple tasks.

The Human Services office is near dowtown Denver on Federal Boulevard, so I took the Evans Avenue bus to Federal. That let me check out vans Station, which is my next rail hike destination and it let me see how I would need to walk from Mary Carter Greenway to the train station.

The Human Services offices are housed in a huge complex, impressive but architecturally modern and not particularly aesthetic.

                                                                 [Human Services]

I got to check out some of the services available to the homeless, and what I had to do was quick and easy. The staff does try to be helpful and friendly. I have generally had good experiences with the social services in the area. Broomfield was easier, primarily because it was less crowded. Denver seems to try to be helpful but the sheer size of the community makes the machine rather clunky. Once resources are assembled, people can get things done, but they have to be responsible for the assembling, and the system is not easy to navigate here.

I was a little disgruntled to find that Human Services was right next to the W Line. If I have a choice between bus or train, I will always take the train. But, the trip let me check out the W Line.

                                                                    [The W Line]

Downtown pigeons and doves have no fear of humans. Of course, many of the commuters will feed them while they wait for the next train.

                                                                     [City birds]

One of my favorite wild flowers is blooming now. Milkweed is most certainly a weed. It has been everywhere I have been in North America. It's much more prolific in Virginia than Alabama, but it's pretty common along streams and in gardens here in Denver. It's a hardy plant that looks the part.

The flowers form in big globes and, if you look closely, you find that they are exquisitly carved and colored blossoms.

                                                                        [Milk weed]

When you have an irritating chore to do, think about how you can change it into a fun outing. I used to make laundry day bareable by making that the specific day that I went for a milkshake.

Part of human nature is the need to feel like one's life matters. A good way to feed that need is to volunteer for community activities that benefit others. Often, volunteer work is managed but Human Resources or Human Services

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