With only a couple of months remaining in my JVC year, I have noticed myself becoming more and more nostalgic as I look back and realize just how quickly time has passed! I am confronted with the closing of my year with Taller de José as some of my regular clients begin to schedule follow-up accompaniments for the months after I will be gone.
Recently a client and I were on the bus returning from an accompaniment – while at court that day she was given another court date for August. As we chatted per usual on our way back to the Taller de José office, I broached the subject of someone else needing to accompany her after July. I have worked closely with this particular client since the fall, when I was a fresh, new, and intimidated compañera. She, along with many others, has been with me as I have grown over the course of the last year – in ability to advocate on behalf of clients, in knowledge of resources (and the grid system of Chicago!), and in confidence in myself. She, along with those same clients, has been a large part of this growth – sharing knowledge and experience with me, as well as showing me an example of how to be brave and resilient, in turn inspiring me to be that for these individuals who I care about so much.
As we continued our conversation, my client asked what I plan to do after I leave Taller de José. I explained to her that in the fall I will return to school for a Master’s program in Social Work and Public Health, to which she immediately grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said “Oh Sarah, ¡eres muy buena en eso!” (Oh Sarah, you are so good at that!). As is natural with any major decision, I of course have doubts and worries regarding the future – on my hardest days, thoughts of “Are you really cut out for this path?” find a way to creep into my mind. To have the encouragement and reassurance of someone who I have come to admire means so much to me.
Whenever inquiring and interested family and friends listen to my stories about Taller de José, they usually comment on what an impact we must have on those we accompany. While we do provide what can be invaluable comfort and support to clients as they navigate intense situations, I also like to recognize and appreciate the partnership that we createand all of the meaningful ways in which my clients are accompanying me on a daily basis. From giving me advice on the pains of growing up and becoming an adult (whatever that really means!), to greeting with a hug and updating each other on events in our lives, I appreciate the beauty in sharing with and learning from one another through mutual accompaniment.