Most likely, you're a days drive away from Memphis. We want you to arrive around dinner time so your group has the chance to settle in and grocery shop for the week. Maybe you buy a frozen pizza or dine at a local joint.
Some groups may desire to check out a Memphis church. We'll gather for lunch and orientation together early afternoon. The orientation will give you some background to the city of Memphis and your week with Serve901. We send you off to visit the National Civil Rights Museum and stroll around downtown Memphis.
You'll begin working with one of our partners bright and early. You may serve at a local homeless shelter as men and women come to shower and get a fresh set of clothes. You may mulch a school garden. We'll likely work you hard Monday. Of course, our desire is that you take time to evaluate your context. Learn the story of the organization you're partnering with as well as the leaders who lead the project.
We may move you to a local school on Tuesday. Our organization champions teachers and the urban education movement. We want to rally alongside educators. You may be asked to paint. You may be asked to read with students. You may be asked to organize a library. Realize that no task is too small. Too many stories are involved to take any task for granted. Students who aren't reading on grade level by third grade are more likely to end up in prison. This is a very damning stat for urban areas. Knowledge is power.
We'll try to make this a lighter day, because we'll have a pow-wow this night. We'll have some good Memphis BBQ and hear from Memphis leaders about how they are addressing current issues and injustices in our city.
We bring everybody together - that means such and such college ministry from the south with such and such student group from a Big Ten school - for Roundtable Breakfast. We realize that Memphis issues may not be Wisconsin issues or Boston issues. We have you share with students from other parts of the country about what you've learned so far. How could you enact change or address injustices in the communities that you know?
You might spend this afternoon with a community development organization to clean blighted neighborhood properties. There are many "CDC's" in Memphis working to improve the quality of life on a neighborhood level. They do this through affordable housing, job training programs, and asset mapping.
You may spend the morning working on developing some available acreage with a local after school program and the afternoon with the students they serve.
You're going to eat out and enjoy the town on Thursday night!
Safe travels as you head out (head out=Bunkhouse is squeaky clean!). At this point in the relationship, you're fans of us, we're fans of you.