My Trip to Andre House

January 20, 2010
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As I slowly peeked into the room with a racing heart and sweaty palms, only two people were revealed. It was my first time doing any type of community service that dealt with the homeless. My teacher politely handed me a pen to sign my name. She exclaimed, “I am so glad you decided to come, we always have fun at Andre House!” Then she quickly added, “Unfortunately I will not be joining you, but you will be well taken care of.” My heart began to sink as I quickly tried to whip up a fake smile. Thoughts began to cloud my mind as, not only did I feel alone; now my teacher would not be there to guide me. Suddenly noises began to surround the room, and some familiar faces began to appear. My heart rate began to slow down, and I no longer was a nervous wreck.

Once the vans were loaded, we were off to Andre House. The loud voices and laughs kept my anxiety level to a minimum, but deep down there was a terrified little girl inside of me trying to figure out what I was doing. As the van screeched up to Andre House, the first thing visible was a man lying on a bench. While passing by the man I only smiled and greeted him as I cautiously entered the building. As soon as we piled into the building, we were greeted, signed in, and put to work. My first task was to wipe down the chairs and tables. My conscience screamed “Debre, this is easy, why were you afraid?” I confidently scooped up a wet cloth and cleaned the best way I could.

A gigantic crowd began to mob the tiny entrance, and my heart began to pound. Dinner and trays were rapidly shoved into my hands. There were yells and cries for more food. I had not realized how angry hunger could make someone. After dinner was done being served, a rush of gratitude filled the room as well as the many people who were fed.

Once dinner was over, it was time to clean up again. As I headed to a table with my wet cloth, I heard a woman’s beautiful voice. As I slowly approached the sound I recognized the woman as one of the people who I had prepared food for earlier. She had a huge smile on her face while singing the lyrics to her song. I looked at her and listened to her song. When she was finished, she proceeded to tell me that she sang for the homeless people like her. She proclaimed,” I like to sing for them to give them hope.” When she said this, I felt my eyes swell up with tears. A woman with no place to call home still had hope, so why should I complain? While holding back my tears, I told her how beautiful her voice was, and how much of a blessing she was.

When I returned home, I thought of how much of an impact she had on my life in just a minute or two. Whenever I feel like complaining, I think of how she gets through her day. She helps me by helping those just like her.

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