By Coco Sheng
Three weeks’ experience at Solid Ground has brought me into the complex world of non-governmental organizations. This organization, in particular, focuses on various aspects of community development, including food & resources, stabilization services, residential services, and transportation. One thing noticeable is that the food & resources branch emphasizes not only community members’ access to food, but education on health and food growing. In the two farms that belong to Solid Ground, people can exchange food with their two hours’ labor through the Work-Trade program, rather than getting it for free. I am impressed because this exchange mode highly promotes the importance of labor. The organization also encourages people to donate the extra produce in their own gardens, which both effectively prevents wasting food and helping those in need.
I work for the data system project. This project aims to build an organized, inclusive and consistent data management system for the whole organization. Through helping with data collection of different programs, I am gradually getting a comprehensive picture of the various programs. But the most important thing I learned is how to develop a comfortable interpersonal relationship. People at Solid Ground, no matter what position, are all very welcome and willing to talk. The working environment gives me the feeling of everyone contributing towards the same will: to help improve community lives. Whether it is tenant services which provided legal advice to people who cannot afford such services, or Apple Corps which educates school kids about healthy diet, all the programs exist for a reason and work hard to achieve the same goal. Although I do not provide direct services to community members, I still feel great responsibility helping build the data system, because of co-workers’ high expectation to make the whole organization more compact. Through frequent but organized meetings I learned about preparing outline of questions before the meetings, delivering messages clearly, as well as making notes in a consistent and understandable way.
By Coco Sheng