Serving This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I knew spring semester would be tough. I knew I’d make new friends, and I knew I’d have a lot of fun. What I didn’t know, however, was that I’d come to love spending time at the Campus for Human Development. I had served the homeless before, but I had never heard about the Campus. After Christmas I was helping with a youth retreat and we went there to make banana splits and hang out. I was reminded of how much joy I felt when volunteering and was invited to help out with Room in the Inn. After a while, the Campus became my home away from home as I grew closer to the staff and the participants.

Most of the homeless don’t get a chance to talk about their dreams to anyone who actually believes in them. This is why my favorite times are when I get to see my new friends talk about what they love. I want to help those at the Campus identify their gifts and goals, visualize them, and own them because “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re only taking a walk.” Every one of the men and women who walk into the Campus “comes with the batteries” - they already have what they need to fulfill their purpose, they just need help putting the batteries in and figuring out how to use their gifts. Sometimes, they just need to be recharged.

I am inspired by those in the program because they are learning that it is not what they don’t have, but what they do have and can give back that matters. In fact, they give back to me each time I see their smiles and strong faith, and I am always very encouraged. I know that God will use them in inconceivable ways because they are hardworking, helpful, and humble. I am motivated to keep coming back not only because I enjoy serving and know that I have a lot to offer, but also because I can learn from them.

When I began telling others about my working with the homeless they were quick to bring up stereotypes but those at the Campus for Human Development are some of the nicest, most talented people I could hope to meet. They have their share of struggles, but who doesn’t? I am convinced that God has a special plan for each of them, and that as George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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