#jvreflects: let it rise – jvc northwest blog

In the latest #JVReflects blog post, current JV Rachel Swenarton reflects on how baking bread from scratch is more than just a new hobby: it’s also a metaphor in understanding her JV service at a needle exchange program in Anchorage. Below is an excerpt from her piece on Ignatian Solidarity Network’s blog.


jesuit volunteer

“If the creation of fresh bread is indeed a metaphor, then I can’t help but think about the ways in which I have been kneaded since my arrival in Anchorage, Alaska. No experience of service has left my stomach in knots as much as operating a needle exchange program. Folks, mainly injection drug users or family members of injection drug users, come to us with used syringes and leave with clean syringes and information on safer practices.

The literature told me that the harm reduction model for public health epidemics worked. It was cost efficient and communities with syringe access programs were correlated to fewer infectious diseases and drug overdoses. Despite this, my day-to-day personal experience of having challenging conversations with struggling people left me feeling hopeless. I was finally living as the “contemplative in action” I had heard about for so long…”

Read Rachel’s full reflection on Ignatian Solidarity Network’s #JVReflects blog here.

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