By Daisy Gomez Meza, Social Work Intern Compañera
Accompaniments, although the norm here at Taller de José, I would argue is not the norm for a lot of the work done in the social service sector. Taller de José takes a real human-centered approach by presenting its staff as compañerx to their clients. The name itself really presents staff as aid rather than in charge of individuals. It also informs clients that we are there to assist and not manage. Prior to being at Taller de José, I worked in addressing the issue of homelessness through outreach, emergency housing, and permanent supportive housing. In this line of work, I met a lot of people and agencies that failed to really understand human dignity and the fact that people are autonomous beings. I remember how much of a culture shock Taller de José was to me when I first arrived. I spoke to my field supervisor about the fact that people genuinely love their job, coworkers, and have the upmost respect for their clients. There is also a big network of support among all the staff that leaves no room for shame in embarrassment in asking for help. This has definitely helped me in not feeling overwhelmed and feel really connected to my coworkers.
Aside from the workload, there are little things that I have grown to really appreciate. The fact that everyone tries to eat at the same time and place, that people will being extra food for other people, that if anyone leaves the office for lunch, they will go around and ask if anyone needs anything, that almost every person in the office has offered to help me decorate my office, visiting everyone’s office for questions and feeling so welcomed, and last, but definitely not least, the hidden candy drawer in Betzy’s office. I am thankful for being here at Taller de José, not just for the work that is being done, but for the support and love among the entire team. At first, I was suspicious thinking it was a good first impression, but after being here for over two months, I can confirm that is the everyday workday at Taller de José.