Spring 1999 Newsletter
Greetings from your friends in the neighborhood!
Greetings from Good Works, Inc.
As we enter our 19th year of providing a COMMUNITY OF HOPE to our neighbors in southeastern Ohio, I want to devote this newsletter to our volunteers. Here are some thoughts from those who have been on the front lines of loving their neighbors this past year.
VOICES OF THOSE CALLED ALONG SIDE TO HELP
(First evening volunteering): “One of the residents began to tell me about how she ended up in the shelter and personal life history. It felt so good to have her confide in me. Even though all I did was listen, I felt that it was exactly what she needed.”
“It was wonderful to hear all the laughter in the shelter and how well everyone has conformed into a family of their own.”
“It helps to come here when one worries about one’s one financial issues. It’s spiritually grounding to know that obviously things could get worse. It’s uplifting in a way to partake in help for others as a way of soothing one’s own conscience.”
“First night on shift —already it has been a rewarding experience for me. It is very interesting seeing things from a non-resident perspective. I thank Good Works for letting me come and share my time.”
“I always leave here with an attitude of gratitude and I am thankful that I am allowed to come her and give my time. Again–thank you.”
“This may be my last night at Good Works and that makes me sad. I have a bad schedule next quarter and cannot be here until later.”
“I feel myself in an environment that I feel suits me. It is a good feeling to be just around people willing to talk and sitting around. I feel sometime I need Good Works more than it needs me. Sometimes you need to let go of the world that you have made and come into other worlds. It’s very much like stepping through a magical wardrobe to find a place of different rules, different ways, and a different kind of peace. It was just fun to talk to new people.”
“A hard night overcoming my own thought and emotions. The house did help me as it almost always does. Everything went so well that the news will have to be good news. The new family was not a problem at all. I was able to play with the children and still find time to talk with the adults. This is truly a great staff and house we have at this time.”
Today, Good Works has an estimated 125 scheduled volunteer positions and an estimated 400-500 additional volunteers each year. If you would like to become involved as a volunteer, contact us!
REFLECTIONS FROM A GOOD WORKS INTERN
Thank you Keith for your words of encouragement. I enjoy receiving these newsletters and I have to say the poem that you ended your last newsletter with (click here to read it) hit very close to home. I used to be and sometimes still am, unfortunately, one of those people who fear the stranger on the street in need and would rather send him/her elsewhere than bring them home with me. However, since becoming part of the Good Works family the last couple of years, I have come to put names, feelings and stories with the faces of those I used to fear becoming close to. I still remember the name of one of the first residents I met at Good Works.
It’s broken my heart to hear the pain that so many residents have gone through. When I sit at the table or on the porch and listen to how one woman has lived with being raped twice, both times the police did nothing or blamed her, and another young girl crying out her eyes about how she doesn’t think she loves her mother anymore after being at odds with her (and the police) for so long, then there is the young man who doesn’t feel like anyone can understand what he’s been through and a woman who thinks that taking her baby to Columbus and begging on the streets is a good idea, and on and on I can’t help but cry with them and wish I could do something to erase the heartache and the despair they’re feeling.
Whether the pain was brought on by bad decisions or through an unlucky twist of fate, it’s still hurts. It’s during these times that I thank God that Good Works was there for them, to show them God cares and that they’re not alone. Even if they don’t appreciate the efforts or motives of the staff, I believe the seeds planted during their stay will bloom someday and make a difference in their lives.
Those success stories that I have heard about and the many former residents that I’ve had the opportunity to know personally who’ve bounced back from hard times and landed on their feet make everything Good Works does and the little I do as a volunteer completely worthwhile in my mind! God has used residents and staff alike to teach me things I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. Good Works has made me truly grateful for my life, family, friends and all the other gifts God has blessed me with, not the least of which being his everlasting love and forgiveness! I’m thankful for the friendship I’ve made with all of you! —Mandy
WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT HOMELESSNESS
- Close to 40 percent of the total homeless population are in families; the rest are single men, women, or youth (age 18 and under).
- Children under the age of 18 make up 25-30 percent of all homeless persons.
- There is a 4.7 million unit shortage in safe, decent, affordable housing.
- Many may lose their housing because of funding reductions in federally assisted housing programs and welfare reform initiatives.
- The 1997 U.S Conference of Mayors report found that 38 percent of those seeking assistance in receiving food were employed.
- Homelessness is the most extreme manifestation of poverty.
- In addition to homeless persons in shelters or on the street, there are many people who are on the verge of losing their housing. Today and for the foreseeable future, this group will increase in size primarily as a result of income disparity and inability to cope.
- The city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County estimate that over 22,000 persons are homeless each year—on the street or in shelters. Requests for shelter and services are on the rise locally and nationally.
—Source: Ohio Coalition on Housing and Homelessness