Alternative Winter Break 2016 Post Short Vs. Long Term – Raviv Cohen
By Sharon Schoenfeld
Today’s experience of meeting with police officers and learning about the homeless in Santa Monica was interesting to see. Specifically, how homelessness and mental illness is practically handled in a police force. We had discussed with two officers the department’s policies and actions they perform during calls, I felt fascinated by the conversations we were having. We would ask questions like: when to shoot a gun, how mental illness training is used in the force, and difficulties when dealing with different types of people, particularly on skid row. I enjoyed seeing my peers, challenging and having open, thought provoking discussions with police officers. Said discussion sparked a lot of questions within me and it impacted me to then go on the streets and talk to homeless people. I was expecting to hear emotional stories that would change my perspective on homelessness and that is what I got, but I didn’t feel real change. I felt like we were working in the short term rather than the long and giving out food and listening to stories. Although I felt like we were working in the short term, I hope that this trip will surprise me further and change my perspectives on community service.
~ Raviv Cohen is a junior from Seattle, Washington