A Bittersweet Feeling

25 Feb

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Volunteering with Family Promise has truly been a life-changing experience. I never realized the bond I would create with each of the families. Especially with one family in particular who has been there since I started in September. In a quick few months, I went from a volunteer to a best friend. No matter what mood I was in, when I walked in the door and saw the smiles on those kids’ faces as they ran to me with open arms, I couldn’t help but smile back.

On a particular evening at Family Promise, I was playing the board game, Risk, with one of the older boys. As he slowly took over all the territories, he began to tell me about his life. He mentioned his strong anger toward his Dad, who he blames for why he is in such a horrible situation. He talked about his Mom and how he needed to take care of her. All I did was listen and I could tell that is all he really wanted. Having just met this young boy a few days earlier, I did not expect him to be so open about his situation. He was wearing a Penn State hat, so I asked him if he liked that school and he told me how much he loved it. His face lit up as he told me about his dream of playing football there and studying all about Egypt. In an instance, it seemed as though he took a look around at the church basement and suddenly his grin slowly faded. He claimed that his dream will never come true because of the situation he is stuck in. I encouraged him to keep his dream alive and do whatever it takes to achieve it. I returned to my room later that evening and just cried. I thought about how college for me was something that was just expected, never something far out of reach. I thought about how he explains his situation to his friends or if he has a hard time even making any friends. Suddenly, my professor wasn’t so horrible for assigning me all this homework and my life really is not as hard as I think it is sometimes. I think we all take what we have for granted and you don’t realize it until you see a person who without this program would not have a warm place to sleep tonight. I can’t even imagine how hard that has been on him. Although he is no longer a part of the program, I know I will never forget that boy or the impact he had on my life.

As they say, all great things must come to an end. However, for the only family remaining, it is just the beginning. They are close to finding a place to live and I realize that every time I see these kids may be my last. However, when it comes to these kids, out of sight will never be out of mind.I know my consistency in their lives has helped them to forget even for just a second, the constant inconsistently which they live in. Although it saddens me to think I will never see them, I am so happy that they are able to get out of this horrible situation. I will never forget the relationship I have created with each of  them or the impact that they have made on my life.

Tori Bishop

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3 Responses to “A Bittersweet Feeling”

  1. Claire February 27, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    This was so touching to read! I remember when I volunteered with Family Promise last year. You are truly making a huge difference in these people’s lives!!

  2. Megs March 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Tori isn’t amazing how service can put your life into perspective. We have SO MUCH to be grateful for.

  3. Alex March 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    We really do take so much for granted. Thanks for helping me keep it in perspective. We are ALL privileged to be living the lives we have and it is our responsibility to pay that forward. Thanks for sharing your entry. Keep up the awesome work!

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