On Monday January 4, 2016, we visited one of the many Salvation Army sites in Puerto Rico. From our tour of the facility we learned that the men who struggle with addiction are allowed to stay on site. The men have their own sleeping quarters and they have their meals on site as well. There is a set routine that they must carry out everyday. This routine consists of breakfast, work, dinner, and mass in the chapel. The men have jobs where they either work in the store below or go to pick up donations. They are also given a free day each week where they can break from the routine and relax. On the day of our visit we were able to talk with the men after they had dinner at 3:30. We took their blood pressures and spoke with them about their time at the Salvation Army. We learned that they were from all over the world. They were from places like the Middle East, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more. Through discussion we also found out that there were men who had been at the facility for either less than a year to ten or more.
After we spoke with the men we broke off into groups and gave seminars about PTSD, anxiety, nutrition, wound care, and hygiene. My group gave an anxiety seminar in the chapel. When we started a couple of men left because they did not like the exercise. We played a game called “Fear In a Hat”. In this game we had each participant write down their biggest fear on a piece of paper anonymously. Then we had each participant pick out a paper from the hat and read the fear that was written. Finally, we spoke about the difference between fear and anxiety and did a breathing exercise. We turned off the lights and had the participants breathe deeply while being mindful of their environment. We had great feedback from the men. The group consensus was that there was an overall feeling of relaxation after they did the exercise. Overall, we had a positive and welcoming experience at the Salvation Army.
Submitted by: Shefene Wright