Hello! This is Anne reporting from the hostel in the beautiful Washington DC, listening to all the girls laughing in the room. Today was the first day of service with the entire group. Some served breakfast at the women's shelter across the street and we all set out in the afternoon to do some yard work for Miss Brown. After a few mishaps with the metro system, we arrived at the van that took us to Miss Brown's house, which had quite a ferocious backyard. Luckily we were able to clear much of the brush and vines growing wildly throughout the yard. The program we worked through helps elderly sustain their living situations so they can keep living in their homes. The program is free for the residents and the hug from Miss Brown at the end really conveyed how thankful she was.
After returning from yard work, we had some down time before taking a tour of N Street Village, the women's shelter across the street that offers various programs and temporary/permanent housing for its clients. Though the services for the homeless are obviously inadequate for the proportion of the population that they cater to, the N Street Village tour really opened my eyes to all of the services and volunteers that helped make the homeless as comfortable as possible and give them services to help them out of their situation.
We met several women, Mary and Patty, who lived in the N Street Village complex who told us their stories. I won't go into details for confidentiality reasons but they were extremely compelling and made me rethink the face of homelessness. It happens to average people who happen upon bad times and have trouble getting out. These people deserve help. I can't even imagine the thousands upon thousands of people like Mary and Patty who don't have a place to sleep at night and aren't getting the help they need.
It was an emotional day for all of us, but the chance to serve alongside these girls was fun and thought provoking. I am anticipating the days ahead and more chances to learn and serve.