Good Intentions do not make a space.

So R. and I decided it would be a good idea to tutor some of the students who we had been volunteering with at Green Youth Farm. R. gave an inspiring talk about college admissions process, it revved everyone up to get ready. We decided Sunday afternoons we would head down to Washington Park to have some tutor sessions. Students could bring HW questions, essays they were working for class or college admissions or have R. help them study for the ACT. Simple as that. Students wanted tutoring. We wanted to tutor. But then it occurred to us, we needed to BE somewhere while doing said things.

The libraries are closed on Sundays. We emailed the Park Field house contact. I visited the Field house, wrote a note; I called churches. I visited the cultural center and emailed the director. I showed up on churches door steps ringing doorbells. At the baptist church, they laughed, Oooh, We are too full on Sundays. No room. Although, they didn’t ask for the details that I wanted a room for only about 10-15 people in the afternoon. I tried to slide my details in between their excused, but I could tell they were not interested. Try the Catholic Church across the street! They used to be a high school.

That sounded promising. I crossed the street, I walked to the courtyard. It was silent, but for the wind churning the dead leaves. A statue of saint, face tilted toward heaven, hands in prayer stood alone in the courtyard. I walked around until I found the church office doorbell. An old nun with drooping eyes, and a limp answered. Yes. I told her my plight. A room, just one sunday a month, maybe two. Oh, we don’t have any students here, we had to close the high school. I explained that we had the students, we had the tutors all we needed was room. Oh no, oh no. I don’t think so. Someone would have to clean the room, the bathroom, light the boiler. I offered to clean the bathroom, and wouldn’t the boiler already be lit on Sunday? Maybe. Call Father R. But I don’t think so. 

I called Father R. the next day. He also was uninterested in hearing the details. But gave a litany of excuses. If we rent out the building we won’t be able to offer it anymore. 

So R. and I are meeting at Starbucks which has room enough for us, but even it is not quite as close to the high school as we were hoping to be. I hope students come on Sunday, but not too many.

Perhaps it was unfair to expect people to offer us a free room. But I was quite irritated and mostly disappointed by the attitude of the church representatives I spoke too. One church was too full of Christian activity to make room for a few high school students. The other one too empty.

I suppose we went about this all wrong. In my previous experience I had been living in the area where I wanted to be of some kind of use, give some kind of service. So I had more connections with the people in the neighborhood and might have known who to ask. We will see.

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