Happy Saturday! Why am I blogging on a Saturday? Answer: it is 10:00 am and I am already well over caffeinated but I haven't yet convinced myself fully that it is a beautiful day for a run to the beach. SO...that's where you come in, welcome to the weekend.
I have been spending the majority of my time over this past week working with the Connecticut College students from the Holleran Center in the PICA certification program (learn more here!) who are organizing our 5th Annual Walk for the Homeless and I am completely blown away by how motivated and enthusiastic they are. As a recent college grad myself, I like to think that all college students are this way, but these "kids" (I'm what...3 years older than them?) are unbelievable. They created their own time line and deadlines, and they have met every single one of them EARLY, then they'll send me the final product (registration forms, fliers, letters...) and ask for suggestions. Any time I've sent back suggestions they update it immediately, and perfectly. I am beyond excited to get a text from them on 11:30 pm on a Wednesday night making sure they are all set for Thursday, to me that means that they're enthusiastic. Personally, at 11:30 pm on a Wednesday the last thing I want to think about are my responsibilities for the next day, kudos to them.
Each one of the students is serving 10 hours with us during the semester to better understand what we do, how we do it, who we work with, and all that jazz. Turns out, they're not only fabulous students, but open minded, driven, outgoing volunteers as well. They've played checkers and backgammon with our guests, helped out at the front desk, helped Sha at Homeward Bound (literally ALL DAY yesterday), a group of them are bringing food to the shelter tonight, another group is doing that next week (maybe the week after), they're coming in for a maintenance day...they are just completely immersing themselves into this experience and I am so impressed.
By the end of my term you'll read plenty more bragging about these students, guaranteed...and if you are someone who I speak with daily, I apologize because you're hearing about it everyday for the next 4 months.
There was a quote I was searching for months and months ago that I wanted to put in a blog post but I couldn't find it, and recently I was flipping through my favorite coffee table book and I FOUND IT!! (I'll have to say that it is the universe conspiring in my favor...as has been a theme in our office this week). I sincerely do apologize if you take offense or are uncomfortable with the addition of "God" but take this quote for what it means; "God calls you to the place were your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner.
How incredibly beautiful. To think that your joy, and acting on what brings you joy, can feed the needs of the world. How many times have you thought that you weren't making a difference or that you can't change anything on your own? I'm hoping it's human to feel that way fairly often...because I do. I was talking with another staff member the other day and he expressed that the one thing that keeps him from burning out in this job is being able to joke around with and connect with our guests. It's so true. Actually coordinating volunteers takes about half of my week, because you guys are amazing and working with you is a joy and a pleasure and an honor, but that leaves half of my week to what? Walking around the Drop In, visiting on my off nights at the Overnight, doing bits and pieces of case work, and seeing what's going on with everyone. I had one day a few weeks ago where I kept joking that I was useless at work because I had done everything on my list and I was just hanging out at the Drop. A guest came in crying, she was so upset, so I brought her into the mail room and sat her down away from the crowd and the noise and asked her what happened. She had slipped on ice by the library, she had to work in an hour, she was afraid to walk down to the bus stop on the ice...that's stressful! So we just sat there, with ice and ibuprofen, and when she heard me say "I'm just useless today" she stopped and looked at me and said "No you are not, you helped me so much, I'm so glad you're here." I laughed to cover up the fact that I was totally about to cry, but those little reminders are essential to keeping you going. My deep joy is...well...it's undefined right now but I recognize some things that bring me that joy, and being there with and for our guests is right at the top of my list. So when it's confirmed that the joy I work towards is satisfying a need somewhere, anywhere in the world, I can't help but believe that the universe is in fact conspiring in my favor.
Did I ever think I would get to a point here that I would feel comfortable here? Absolutely not...I've always thought that as soon as things get comfortable it's time to leave, but at the end of June when my term is up I'm going to need a full industrial size box of tissues because I'm going to cry a river...or an ocean...or an estuary. Hey uh, next volunteer coordinator...can I maybe, only if it's okay with you of course...possibly stay on as a volunteer? Change is nice, but so is consistency.