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Forever Changed

“Why thank you young man”

This was the first time I had seen a homeless family personally. She was an older woman with her four children. I simply smiled back to her and replied “You’re welcome”. It made me think hard about my own life and how it is, but also made me feel good inside knowing I am here to offer my services.

I was at St. Vincent, located in Phoenix Arizona, with fellow classmates and our advisor. As I approach the large warehouse, I can feel tingling in my stomach and could not keep still. I have never been up close and personal with homeless people before. I had no idea what I was in for, or that my mindset would change forever.

Once we arrived, we got right to work. Our advisor gave us words of wisdom before going off to do our jobs. It was also nice to hear other workers say how we make a difference and how much we help out.

I was sent to help separate all the donated items for the first 2 hours. I was able to see how fortunate I am for what I have. It was nonstop work! It felt as if the items kept coming in the large, blue and white trucks. That day I learned some volunteer work is not easy.

“Got another load!” is was I kept hearing.

As the two hours come to an end, I feel my muscles tired and worn out from moving the donated furniture, televisions and other house hold items. Then we were told to move over to the kitchen and help out. It was the middle of dinner, and all the moms, dads, children; even older folks were enjoying their meals.

As dinner comes to an end, we began to clean up the kitchen, wipe the tables down and threw away trash. I was able to meet some these families while I went around from table to table to clean up. I met this woman with her four children and all I can think is how this is possible? I felt terrible knowing families out there are homeless but children are still running around, screaming happy as if nothing was wrong. Deep down I felt sadness which only made me want to volunteer more because it felt good and I know I am capable of it. And I am capable.

From that moment onward, I realized all homeless people are not the same. Now that I was able to see and interact with some of them, they changed my view on life. That day I went home with a smile on my face and I will never forget that woman and her four children. That day is like a vivid movie clip in my head that replays over and over and I cannot help but smile.



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