I invite volunteers, donors, staff and guests to contribute to the Open Door Mission Blog. I am blessed to share this blog from Ethan, 13 years old, a volunteer for the past 3 years. His mother both works and volunteers at the mission.
Volunteering is definitely an amazing experience for me. I enjoy the many different options when volunteering, such as the Teen Room, helping in the kitchen, or organizing items in the TOC. Since there are so many options when volunteering at the Open Door Mission, I have an enormous amount of fun trying a lot of different things. I understand if people think volunteering is boring or exhausting, but with all of the options it surprisingly is extremely fun and exciting. I revel in meeting the guests and staff and bonding almost like neighbors. It really crushes the stereotype of “all homeless are bad”, because in reality, most of the people I have talked with and know personally are very sweet, caring, and understanding. They are honestly some of the kindest people on Earth . . . well, at least that I have met.
Volunteering really is a “wake-up call” for you to realize how good you have it. When I first started volunteering I was surprised to see that even though the homeless did not have much, they were so generous in giving. I went in thinking that these people would take everything they can, but I was superbly wrong once I realized that they only took what they needed. Everyone at the shelter is hard-working and trying their best to get jobs, quit addictions, and raise their family.
At the Open Door Mission, the goal is for people to stay a while as they get their life together, and eventually, they will leave and live their new beautiful life. However, it is sad to see someone I have met and bonded with to leave. Most likely when this happens I won’t see them again. To get over the sadness, I just remember their life is changed and much better now. So, when they do leave, I am filled with happiness for them because they are giving back to the world, and they are the happiest they have ever been.
This is certainly why volunteering is important and an amazing experience. Not only does it help people, but it also gives them hope and encouragement for the future. Ethan C.