I’ve been meaning to update my entries on more than one of my goals, but this one deserves to be documented.
One of the ladies at the Women’s Shelter where I volunteer every Monday night brought a bouquet of red roses with her. She said that she wanted to brighten everyone’s Valentine’s Day Eve – and she placed the roses in a makeshift vase (a cheap plastic pitcher that was laying around in the “office”). She put the bouquet on top of a table in the area where I work and where all the women come in at least once during the night (this is the area where I give them basic necessities for the night – blankets, pads, the occasional painkiller, dry socks, etc.).
Almost all of the women would come in, and upon seeing the flowers, they’d smile a huge smile and smell the roses.
I think the flowers at the Women’s Shelter on Monday gave more joy than all the red rose bouquets that were given in this city for Valentine’s Day. 15 months ago
Honestly, I was feeling a bit apprehensive at first. I had been warned by the volunteer coordinator that some women could be “tough” – many (to be expected) are dependent on drugs or alcohol, some suffer from mental disorders, and many have gone through some really difficult experiences.
While I don’t doubt there might be a few women like that, my experience was 100% positive. Every single one of the women that I interacted with was pleasant, warm, and so grateful. Every single one, without an exception, asked for things politely, and thanked me after they got what they needed (my main duty is to hand out supplies that women might need throughout the night: a blanket if they don’t already have one, dry socks or clean underwear if needed, feminine hygiene products, etc.). What’s more, so many women had a smile on their face. That someone with no place to sleep at night, with nothing more than what fits in a plastic bag to call their possessions, could so readily and generously offer me a smile was nothing short of humbling. 16 months ago
In about an hour, I’ll be going for an interview to become a Big.
Then later tonight, I’ll be heading to the women’s shelter for my first volunteering night.
This goal is not only a way to keep myself accountable, but I also want to start documenting the whole experience, both at the women’s shelter and with my Little, once that gets going (probably not until next year, as I’ll be out of the country for a good part of December and January). 18 months ago
I am meeting with a volunteer coordinator for a women’s winter shelter this afternoon. I’ve looked into the position, and it seems like they want volunteers to help getting women settled in for the night, stocking blankets and supplies, serving hot food, etc. Ideally, they want volunteers to have a fixed schedule, at least once a week, with the aim of getting to know women in the shelter a bit more personally. I’m really looking forward to today’s meeting to learn more about the shelter and about volunteering there, and then getting started on this – hopefully as soon as later this week! 18 months ago