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How I did it: My Aunt heard about this program called "Out of the Cold" at a fair our community was holding. They were in need of over night volunteers to watch the "guests" and supervise them. Anyway, my aunt knew I wanted to start volunteering at some point and this was a cause important to her, as part of her family has suffered the effects of mental illness and homelessness her relative chose because of it and believed that providing help was important.
So she asked me if I would be interested and I said, sure! Anyway, yesterday was suppose to be just an small orientation and introduction to the service to allow us to meet the main coordinators and see the church it was held at. We were offered to stay and observe for a few minutes and agreed to do so, as this was one of the main functions we were not going to be apart of, but was important.
Anyway, my Aunt and I ended up just helping out for the dinner service and it was a very interesting experience. It made me more grateful for what I have and changed my initial impression of the homeless.
At the end my Aunt and I offered to assist with this part of the service if they are ever short and we are available to help. Otherwise, we official begin our night shifts on December 9th.
I'm really glad I signed up for this. It made me feel good, and grateful and appreciate my life so much more just after one session. Also, these (well, most) guests were just soo appreciative for this service that I am glad that I can be apart of it to help provide them with just one night of comfort.
One amazing thing I saw, was the most of these people had better manners then those I encounter on there day to day basis, and I think that just stems from their gratitude and broke one of the stereotypes I had about some homeless people- that they were just lazy, and out to take the free way. Perhaps that's because downtown there are people like that and so you start to generalize the situation with stereotypes. That is not to say I have assumed everyone is like that, but I had begun to believe a good fraction was like this, and last night appeared to prove me wrong. most of these people seemed to have deeper issues beyond laziness and an unwillingness to work and I am glad I got that reminder.
I'm truly grateful this experience came this way and I imagine I am going to learn alot over the course of the winter and my time with this service. Read how I did it… 2 years ago