By. Cristina Norland
Edited by. Jessica Schrader
Compass AmeriCorps members spend the majority of their time at their service sites working with clients and students. However, members are also able to partake in other approved activities like service projects, committees, trainings, or member development. This year the Member Development Committee decided to start a Compass AmeriCorps Book Club and chose The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman as their first book. The book chronicles the story of a Hmong refugee child, Lia, from Laos who has severe epilepsy. It shows the struggle her family and the American doctors treating Lia face as they attempt to find common ground within clashing cultures while caring for Lia.
Recently the book club met to discuss The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Many members spoke to how relatable the book was to experiences that they’ve had serving with refugees in Pittsburgh. Members discussed issues of clashing cultures, western medicine vs. traditional ways, what makes a good doctor, mental health issues for refugees, the disempowerment refugees face due to loss of roles, and much more. Most members agreed that this book raises awareness about a very important issue and that it was extremely well written. Members, if you missed out on the first book club meeting you can still read the book and count professional development hours with approval from your supervisor. Hit up your local library and get a copy today!
Stay tuned for the next selection of the Compass AmeriCorps Book Club!