“I entered into their space; into the encampments and abandoned buildings, asking for their time and disclosure of intimate details about their situations.” -Beverly
Beverly volunteered for the Charlotte, NC Registry Week. Read her story below and find out why she’s back for more and volunteering for the Glendale Registry Week, May 1-6th!
“In Charlotte North Carolina it was cold and misty on the second day of registry week last spring. Just before sunrise our team arrived at an abandoned house where we believed a small group of homeless people were sleeping. Liz, our team leader and staff member at the Urban Ministry Center, began calling out “hello” as she knocked on the boarded up door. We heard movement inside but again, no one answered. This was our second attempt to make contact. Finally, someone recognized Liz’s voice and stepped out to talk to us. Among those we surveyed at the house was a woman identified as vulnerable, due to her medical condition. Thankfully, she got the treatment she needed that day.
At the center we refer to our homeless people as neighbors. Being a long time volunteer I thought I had a pretty good understanding of homelessness. My experience during registry week illustrated how much more the neighbors could teach me. As a survey team member my role had been reversed. I entered into their space; into the encampments and abandoned buildings, asking for their time and disclosure of intimate details about their situations. This was very new to me, interacting with neighbors in their environments, as their guest. I saw their anger when they felt intruded upon and their skepticism that anything beneficial would come from our efforts to create a registry. I also saw gratitude in their eyes, when they felt that someone cared, and heard other volunteers share their stories about the hospitality they received.
Registry week had a profound impact on me; one that will not soon, if ever fade. Not only did I discover my affinity for doing outreach, I also gained a deeper understanding of chronic homelessness and of those who experience it. The exchanges that took place gave me a greater sense of the human interconnectedness we all share and strengthened my belief that homelessness is everyone’s problem. Registry week renewed my passion for this work and my commitment to educate others on the persistent misconceptions around it as a way to help finally put an end to homelessness.”
Registry Week Volunteer;
Charlotte, NC & Glendale, California
Volunteers are still needed for Glendale’s Registry Week! To volunteer May 1-6 alongside Beverly, please sign up here. More information about volunteering and how you can help in the blog post here, and on this info page.
Photo by Kacie Lambert