Familiar Faces

22 Oct

In high school I attended a small school in an even smaller town, and as a result, I thought I had seen everything. I also took little things, such as food to eat and a bed to sleep in for granted. It wasn’t apparent how sheltered my life has been until I volunteered with Family Promise. I have volunteered with Family Promise twice now, about three weeks apart. Unfortunately for the them, the second time around it was the same families that I spent time with.

When I first arrived at the church, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I saw was way beyond my wildest imagination. The idea that some people are homeless was not foreign to me, but actually spending time with those people puts a whole new spin on things. It makes it a reality. You see firsthand how they struggle to make ends meet and how difficult it is to provide food, clothing and a roof for their children.

Being that I went to a small school, I know how people talk and how cruel kids can be. One of the families has been there for weeks, yes weeks, and consists of a mother and her two adolescent boys (ages 11 and 14). It was these two boys that I empathized with the most because I cannot imagine how embarrassed they are for people to know, let alone classmates, that they are homeless. They are old enough to know what is going on and will remember the time they spent in the Family Promise Program. I hope that they wish for a better lives for themselves and are strong enough to break this vicious cycle. I call it a vicious cycle because I occasionally sat with just the mothers and they told me stories about their past, which were remarkably similar their children’s’ current lives.

Another family consisted of just a mother, who is pregnant and due in November, and her 2 year old daughter and 18 month old son. One day, while I was sitting with the mothers, this mother opened up and told me how she ended up in the program, and the reason is because her husband was sent to prison. She was left homeless because she was unable to pay the rent without his help, and was thrown on the streets, babies and all. What is most saddening is the amount of effort that she puts in to better her children’s lives, always putting them first, but never able to get ahead.

I wish there was some other way I could help, but for now I will have to settle with simply spending my time with them and giving the children the attention they so desperately need. I grew attached to the families while volunteering with Family Promise, and as much as I hate to say it, they next time I go back; I hope they are not still there.

~Taylor

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2 Responses to “Familiar Faces”

  1. wjamericorpsfellows October 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Taylor I am so happy to hear how much you are enjoying your experience with Family Promise. Please know that the work you are doing is helping–it may not seem like much but for those families it does help to know that people to do care and want to listen to their stories.

  2. Alex November 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    What a powerful experience, Taylor. Those families really need extra help and it’s great that you’ve been able to be there for them. I’m sure they appreciate it and will remember it for years to come.

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