- 1999; discussions of Youth Clinic being established
- 2000; Shawn Mattison received a grant and used the money to start and fund the suitcase clinic. Run by dedicated undergrads, with quarterly Advisory Board meetings to discuss progress and change. Toff mentioned that clients needed legal help.
- Youth needed legal representation, not just advice. Osha became involved. Steinbach’s daughter got out of death penalty appeals and into Youth legal work.
- The clinic was originally started out moving around, and then decision came about to find a site to create a social model clinic – not at all like general clinic: model of general didn’t work for the homeless youth: needed to be more casual, pets, fun, music, etc. and St. Marks fulfilled this desire – funkiness of the alley and stairs was a positive
- Students began foot-washing service, an entirely Suitcase Clinic idea that has become key to the clinic. The CoCA position was invented, modeling referral-based social work. The mission was a Harm Reduction Social Model – Youth were largely unaware of services; by forming positive relationships with students they would learn about services and reduce risk of harm. Serving food was a serendipitous decision, but contributed to the social atmosphere. Community was formed, especially because of key members. Relationships and case-working were the primary goals – if people communicate and hang out it leads to services. Architecture reflects this; Music, drawing, chess, books, etc. in the center of room – services against the wall.
- Hope got involved because of her passion for youth and common interests, proving acupuncture and substance abuse services and supported by other grants. Hope’s role is very important, acting as the present adult for the clinic.
- Alan’s role has been in the background and with the class.
The Youth Clinic Central Myth – The story of A
A was a very active, dedicated volunteer who was not a student and had a very different sense of what boundaries were appropriate. A saw boundaries as a problem, and saw taking them down as part of the solution: A “ had bad boundaries and was proud of it” (Dr. Kevin Mack). A experimented with pushing away boundaries and this led to the rapid buildup of clients and trust between clients and volunteers. Atmosphere and community of clinic was largely formed by A. Then, two things happened; A child was born to a lady at suitcase and the child was taken away by social services and the power structure at Berkeley Primary Care. Some saw Suitcase Clinic as playing a role in this occurring, and trust was lost. Relationships fell apart – A was hurt and left clinic for a variety of reasons including feelings of alienation and there was a huge decline of clients.
Issues – causes and solutions
In the past, volunteers developed very strong relations with the clients and the level of intimacy was much higher among the total group of people. The loss of the social dynamic is reflected in clients coming late and leaving early. Try to talk to clients, remember their names, chat with them on the street, and establish trust. Remember that dinner is not the center of clinic. Teach new volunteers by example. Have more involvement with the volunteer selection process and an orientation for new vibrant volunteers. Look to new places, such as the co-ops, for volunteers. Remember to use the Hot List. Possibly create a different midterm for Youth small group class members. Don’t make good volunteers jump through class requirement hoops – if someone meets someone during the week to walk them to an appointment, that’s it! They don’t have any other requirements. Remember the importance of announcements. Remind people that it’s not only okay to talk to people, it’s the most important service! As Alan said, we are meeting people halfway into their lives and asking “How can I be of help?”
There has been an actual decline in the actual numbers of street youth in Berkeley on Shattuck and Telegraph – driven off by the police (new sitting law forthcoming may exacerbate this) and the population has been driven off as a result of “revitalize the Telegraph commercial district” (Can we find population numbers?)…there are some that are comfortable about coming to clinic as well…more outreach done on the street and making the connections on the street and bringing those back to clinic will be a solution. “Hokey works” (Alan Steinbach), so we should try a recognizable outreach character – maybe a sandwich board. The character should indicate to street youth that our clinic is not like the others. We should get the outreach backpack filled (Plan B, needles – training needed to give out needles, Know your rights cards, Suitcase Flyers, Socks, Condoms, Hygiene supplies, gifts, vitamins, cliff bars). We should communicate and do outreach at YEAH.
Communicate more with Med – they will be coming to PC. Remember that they are busy and thank them for their contributions. Try to incorporate into the team of undergrads, because currently they stand alone. Ask them for their expertise, such as what to put in the outreach backpack, what is hygienic, etc.
At the end of the meeting, we talked about Alan’s role and how things will be different with him retiring. We should remember that he is still contactable by email for specific questions. Alan’s role has been largely behind the scenes and with training the Class Cboordinators. In terms of logistics, the other doctor who sponsors Suitcase Clinic as well as a new doctor will be handling things with JMP and administrative things. Alan’s role as a group-dynamics instructor and a source of knowledge will not be replaceable, but he has taught many volunteers, and some have learned enough to pass on that knowledge. A concern for class is what will happen when everyone who has taken Wednesday class with Alan has graduated.
- Have a semester/yearly recap such as this one
- Do class outreach by explaining what is different about Youth and getting people excited
- Do volunteer outreach outside of premed, e.g. in the co-ops
- Use the Hotlist as case-working and don’t skimp on debriefing
- Teach by example
- Modify the midterm and class requirements for Youth
- Have an Orientation to teach the Harm Reduction Social Model and see which volunteers stand out
- Have CoCA-lead group discussions on specific issues. This would presuppose strong CoCA-client trust.
- Communicate with Med -email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ?
- Do “hokey” outreach with the backpack
- Do church and co-op drives for supplies