|GA students visiting Face to Face.|
I recall the first time I ever ventured into the lesser parts of the city where I helped serve lunch at the local homeless shelter. I remember the distinct feeling of being scared, but also the feeling of nervousness too. It wasn’t a fear of the common stereotypes people joke about the homeless that worried me. No, I felt nervous because I was scared that these people wouldn’t accept me. Here I was, some girl that to them probably looked like I only came because my school forced me to, and I’m trying to relate to a world they probably think I never in a million years could understand. So, yeah, I was scared that these people who suffered so much and have seen so much would see me and not welcome me here. Little did I know that those I meet at Face to Face are some of the greatest, most kind-hearted people I’ve ever talked to. While many people see a homeless person as someone who simply cannot afford to support themselves, I soon learned how incredibly wrong this notion was.
|Nina T. '16 enjoys some conversation during a recent trip.|
After my first visit to Face to Face [learn more here], I began to develop not just a passion and love for the community there, but also a huge amount of respect for them too. The people I met didn’t just spike my interest because they were funny and interesting to talk to, I liked them and looked up to them because I realized they’re not like me, but that they’re better than that. Here I am, every Saturday, taking a couple hours out of my day to volunteer when some of these people go weeks, sometimes months without water, food, or heat. So, yeah, because of this idea, I began to look up to them as mentors. I realized that maybe just because they didn't receive the same opportunities that I did during my childhood doesn’t mean they were any less of a person than I was. In fact, I realized that these people have seen and been through some things I can’t even begin to image.
As usual, on a recent Saturday, I traveled down to Face to Face where I, again, received the opportunity talk with some of the regulars I’ve grown close to and also got the chance to meet some of the new faces I saw that week. While I spent my time down there the other week, I entered excited and anxious about seeing everyone and left feeling enlightened yet content with all of the progress I made with simply helping make these people’s lives a better for the day.
Something that really stuck with me was after talking to an older man about his life, how he ended up in Philadelphia, and his faith, I finally realized and understood the true importance of our school’s community service program. It’s not because of the need to impress colleges or push us out of our comfort zones, but it’s to expose us to the world outside of ours and make us realize how, although these people might look and act differently, in more ways than one they are the same as us.
|Mr. McVeigh, CSO's founder, delights in bringing students throughout the region.|
~ Abby K. '17