To Do Lists

By Colleen Sinsky

A friend of mine recently asked me, “so what exactly do you DO at work?”  She knows that I have this unique title, “Retention Worker” and that I do something related to housing advocacy at an organization that sounds like an acronym, but what exactly does that translate to in real life tasks at work?

Here’s some real snippits from my ongoing weekly ‘to do’ lists.  I quickly learned to give up having a strict daily agenda at this job in favor of a set of ‘goals to accomplish this week.’

-Can we pay Karen’s past due to PGE?
-Call Frank. Landscaping job? Financial aid?
-Invite Ken, Larry & Deb to Japanese Garden event.
-Did Turner family disappear?  Go visit.
-Food boxes to Jim K., Alicia, Randy and Doug.
-Rochelle needs couch, two twin beds, kitchen table, dresser (if available), kitchen stuff, bookshelf, microwave.
-Jamie needs ride to Mt Hood Hospital early Tuesday am.
-get Robin in touch with HealthConnect to figure out insurance
-introduce JOIN intern to Jenny for friendly visiting.
-Hospital records & psych eval docs for Steve. Call Aging & Disability asap.
-Make referral for George to social security advocacy lawyer.
-Help Kaitlyn get restraining order. go to Gateway Center together Monday am.
-Kyle’s kids want that donated fish tank stuff!
-Check in with Mark K.
-Take Julio to submit rental applications asap!
-Gabe’s ID: need address proof, Social Security printout, order birth certificate online, ask Safety Net to print check to DMV.
-Give Rob’s kid my old Pokemon cards.
-Talk to Michelle’s landlord re: bedbugs
-Franco’s wake and memorial tonight at 6pm.
-Do Shelter Plus Care voucher renewal paperwork with Hank.
-are Lisa’s kids engaged with Morrison Child & Family Services yet?
-Stop by to meet new folks in Doug Fir Apartments
-DiAndre’s birthday lunch on Wed at Burgerville!
-Bus tickets to William for job search
-Talk to BEST team about kids applying for social security disability
-pick up donation of baby stuff from Rockwood Adventist on Saturday
-find free lunch for seniors in Gresham.

…and obviously the list goes on and on and on.  The more important things that I think we all do every day that I didn’t capture at all in this list are the more intangible listening, validating, and problem solving with our folks who are dealing with insurmountable-seeming obstacles.  While it feels great to successfully cross tangible tasks off of my to do list, so rarely are the most impactful and empowering aspects of what we do at JOIN captured in lists and reported data.