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

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   Shattuck Shelter

by S. B., Brookline, MA

This year I and another student leader from my high school recruited about twenty students from Brookline High to go to the Shattuck Shelter in Jamaica Plain. Our service work included baking desserts and serving an already-prepared dinner and our homemade desserts to the people living at the shelter. While it was important that we be there to serve the food, it was more crucial that we talk to the people. I remember hearing a speaker say anyone can serve food at a shelter or give money to a needy agency, but you haven't really done much unless you've interacted with the people you are helping. I found this to be very true.

The most memorable experience I've had volunteering at the shelter has been talking to the people. I've met a man named Robert who is very interested in my life. He lives at the shelter where he is in Narcotics Anonymous. Once he finishes the program and there is an opening at a halfway house, he will leave the shelter. Every two weeks when I go to the shelter I see Robert and we talk. What has surprised me the most about doing a service of this kind is how eager people are to talk to the volunteers. Seeing the same people every visit makes volunteering more fun becuse it gives me a chance to get to know some of them.

I have gained an understanding of the imporance of giving to the community. Often people (especially me) get caught up in their everyday chores and problems. Doing service has allowed me to step back and realize that there is a lot mroe happening in the real world than in my world I often confine myself to. Doing a service has helped me put my sometimes minuscule worries into perspective. Most important, service has allowed me to interact with and learn from people very different from me. At the shelter there are people of different ages, races, religions, languages who all share similar problems, but who think and act differently due to their backgrounds.

I have learned through many experiences that community service is about giving and sometimes taking. Last week when we went to the shelter, several people asked me about the prom. When I told one man that I didn't have a date yet, he seemed very worried and said he would try to do something to help me. His concern made me feel really good and at the same time he appreciated having me there to talk to.


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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