Can I make a difference?
“Don’t walk by,” is a partnership with various organizations throughout the city of New York.
After donating my time this weekend, I was able to have an hands on experience of how this initiative is impacting our community.
When I first arrived,
I was somewhat sleepy yet making my way to the volunteer site in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.
Upon arrival I checked at the host site Church. Everyone was assigned to different group, each group had a group leader and each group would be assigned to a certain location within the city.
After becoming acquainted with those that will be in my group, about 30 minutes later, the president of Rescue Alliance and other individuals spoke and gave us the step by step details of how to interact with those on the street and what we might encounter while we are out there.
Several things stuck out to me:
1. We called homeless individuals, neighbors, guests/friends. Our mission is to make contact with these guest and invite them to dinner. Food, shelter, and services were provided at the host site.
2. We were there to connect as humans being and not just giving handouts to make ourselves feel better.
3. No means no. If we are speaking to one of our friends in the community and they refuse assistance, whether it is food, toiletries, etc.. We had to respect their decision.
Obviously, if we were to see someone in distress such as bleeding, or is about to self harm etc., we were encouraged calling the proper health providers.
Many people at times just want to throw services at people but fail to make contact with them to build trust/ rapport before giving them something, whether it be socks or a dollar.
That was especially apparent when I met a friend in Grand Central that was so desperately in need. He was let down so many times by others that he refused almost everything we offered, except socks and prayer.
Though his feet hurt, he complained of arthritis,
he did not want to be seen by a podiatrist or sleep in a private-owned shelter etc. due to his past experience with other shelters. According to him, they were horrible. He claimed someone stole his belongings, etc. and his trust of others severely diminished.
After connecting with him through genuine conversation and concern. I was able to see him transition from being dismissive/guarded to opening up and admitting that he needs help though he was not ready to go with us to a facility provided that can give him services he needs.
I considered that moment a success because we were able to reveal to a friend that, yes you are still human (not in those words obviously) and we are not meant to carry burdens by ourselves, though we try and appear to be strong for others as we are internally dying.
Though this is not my first time volunteering in this capacity, that’s the main thing that stood out to me.
So overall, when we see a need in society…Many times, we are called to fill it.
Though prayer is an act and when accompanied by physical action, lives can be transformed.
Don’t get caught up in the details, just act.
So, get involved in your community and see how you can make a difference one life at a time.
Contact you should have in your phone
Suicide hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255
New York State Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-942-6906.
Crisis Text Line: Text "Got5" to 741-741