For my first co-op, I decided to stay home and continue working as a dietary aide at Friends Care Community in Yellow Springs. I am also working part-time on campus as the coordinator for the Black Women At Antioch Independent Group (IG). At Friends Care, I work in the kitchen as one of the aides. I serve food to the residents, make their trays, clean the dining room and do the dishes. For my job as an IG coordinator, I create events, schedule bi-weekly group meetings, and have regular meetings with my supervisor to discuss the group and how we can hopefully move forward.
The main goal of Friends Care is to create a pleasant environment for residents during their entire stay, whether it’s short term, long term, or rehabilitation. The goal is comfort without stripping the residents of their dignity and natural human rights. We cater to each of their needs as individuals. My role at Friends Care is to help residents with their dietary needs. I make sure the food they are receiving is in line with their dietary needs and restrictions. I ensure that they get their meals at mealtime. I also clean according to sanitation codes. Finally, I prepare for the next day for other shifts. Friends Care Mission Statement
An average day at Friends Care consists of me going in between 1:50 p.m and 2:10 even though my shift starts at 3:00. I just like to get an early start on my tasks due to the time limit that is set. After I clock in and put my hairnet on, I begin sorting through the meal tickets for rehab, the north floor, the skills floor, and then the dining room. Once I
finish sorting through tickets and putting them in the order I prefer, I start arranging the trays on the carts along with silverware, salt and pepper, and other condiments that go along with that night’s menu. On a good and ideal day, I finish by 2:30 or 2:40 p.m. but most days I end up finishing by 2:50. I then hurry to prepare drinks for dinner and other requested items on the carts. When I complete those tasks, we begin putting the food on the trays and send them down on the carts, and that all starts at 4:30. Depending on what is being served, how fast you work, and who the cook is that night, it’s hard to know when you’ll finish. I try to start at 4:20 so I can finish the cart line before 5:10, even though we have until 5:30.
Sometimes I take my 15-minute break, but oftentimes I don’t because there’s so much to do. After the break, I start washing the dishes while the other aide cleans the dining room. Dishes are the worst part of the night because there’s so much to do. When that’s done, I take the trash out, the kitchen cloths to the laundry sorting room, and I mop the floors before rolling silverware and clocking out. Sometimes the day ends before 7:30 or after 7:30, it all depends.
For the second part of my co-op, I am an IG coordinator and the group I coordinate is the Black Women at Antioch. This was a group that was created a while ago but it just never picked up until I applied for the position. Since I started as the coordinator, I had to think about what I wanted this group to be. I developed goals for myself and the group. I wanted this group to be a place where the Black women that attend Antioch College can come together. I planned on creating a safe space where we can be vulnerable because, oftentimes, a black woman’s vulnerability is invisible and unheard, or viewed as unacceptable. I also wanted to create a space where we can discuss issues we’ve experienced on and off-campus. Overall, I want to use this group to help uplift other black women. I schedule meetings that take place every other weekend. I also planned an event for each month of this term which was fun to do. For a long-term goal, I just want this group to continue throughout future quarters and hopefully, we can make a place on campus for the IG.
In terms of education, I use these experiences in these workplace environments for more personal purposes. With my job at FCC, I learned how to manage my time. I learned that if I want something done correctly and promptly, then I just have to do it myself. I also have learned how to come up with my own routine. With the second part of my co-op, I’m learning how to be more confident in my speaking and how to communicate with others. This is something I found extremely difficult due to my shy nature. I’m still not used to it, but I’m getting there—slowly but surely. As I am writing this, I realize that these new skills that I’m learning can also apply to my in-class education. As for educational goals, I honestly don’t know yet.
In conclusion, my first co-op has been meaningful in different ways. Yes, there have been some ups and some downs, but this experience has pushed me to figure out what I wanted to do in my life and it pushed me to do my best.
Photo credits: Friends Care Center Facebook page and Robyn McCoy