There are three key parts to an average work-week at Tivnu. There are personal internships, Educational Explorations, and construction. Upon beginning my year at Tivnu, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy construction as much as I do. Saws scared me and I didn’t know the difference between a drill and a driver – let alone using them. Before my gap year, I worked a lot in the world of accessibility and inclusion. I was president of my high school’s Best Buddies chapter, participated in integrated Special Olympics, and more. I was doing some direct service on the social level, but never on the physical-societal level.
The way the city of Portland handles their houseless population is unlike any city I’ve seen before. There are villages spread across the Portland-metro area filled with tiny homes. Within these villages, there is a kitchen pod, a laundry pod, an office pod, a covered outdoor area, and a bathroom pod. Pods can be defined as weather-resistant structures with plumbing, central heating/cooling, and more. On paper, these villages can seem filled with any and all resources someone could need. Unfortunately, that isn’t always true.
The Pods are almost always far off the ground with no assistive infrastructure for those that need it. The Tivnu construction crew has made its way to all of the tiny house villages building any and all ramps the villagers deem necessary. So far we’ve built nine ramps, and we’re on our tenth now. Doing carpentry work is something I’ve really enjoyed doing and I can’t wait to see what else I learn to build.
Doing social justice work, it’s sometimes hard to see the impact you are making on a day-to-day scale. With the direct service of Tivnu construction at all the tiny house villages, I am able to see the work going from my hands, directly to the people it serves. This is something so valuable and I will cherish it forever.