Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Learning Journal 2 - Community Placement

For my community placement I am spending Thursday afternoons at a place called Lazarus House which is a residential drug and alcohol rehab centre run by a Roman Catholic organisation called AlaborĂ© Christian Care Homes. There are actually three houses, Lazarus, Thomas and Shalom. Each can take up to 5 residents. Lazarus is the first house that residents enter. Each resident is referred by an agency, which is often the prison service but may be the probation service or a charity. Most residents are ex-offenders, and all are recovering addicts of some description. There is a ‘progression’ system between the houses from Lazarus to Thomas to Shalom depending on how stable the residents are, and how well they are doing according to an agreed set of criteria. The residents are tested at least once a week for drugs and alcohol and failure of these tests results (officially) in the residents being asked to leave.

As this is the first time that Lazarus house has had students from Trinity on placement, there is no real prescribed structure of how I should spend my time and there are very few expectations at this stage. In discussion with P, my supervisor, we decided that I would initially spend my time chatting to the residents and getting to know them as well as helping out with any practical tasks that need doing around the house or office. We will keep things fairly ‘low-key’ as far as any ‘spiritual input’ goes on my part, but we will see how things go and if appropriate, as relationships develop and hopefully trust is established I can offer prayer as and when requested.

I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the back yard of the house and meeting some of the residents. It was good to chat with the guys and hear some of their stories. I look forward to getting to know them and it will be interesting to see how things develop.

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