When you are reading over applications you can’t anticipate group dynamics based on name, year, and involvement at CNU. You can only hope that the students selected will make it through the week without ripping each others heads off. It was sheer luck (and lottery system) that these students have not only made it through the week still smiling, but they have become friends. The students feel comfortable with one another, we have shared stories and ourselves with each other, we have cried together (not the boys of course), and we have laughed and laughed together (thank you Jemal)! It has truly been a pleasure working alongside of these students.
Concluding thoughts: I have learned more in this week than I have in a weeks worth of college classes, but don’t get me wrong I learned a lot at CNU. Instead of reading text books, listening to lectures, taking tests…repeat, I have experienced. We have been exposed to poverty, hunger, broken families, and hard work. All of the volunteers and staff members we have met have been so genuine especially John, from our daily bread, and the wonderful men of Christopher Place. John shared his many life stories with us, a former marine of 4 tours, a soup kitchen meal recipient, a man of God, and now a staff member at Our Daily Bread. He thanked all of us for our service at the soup kitchen and explained how the homeless men and women had gotten to the place they are today.
I will never forget the two men from Christopher Place. Both shared their family troubles, drug abuse, and the journey their bad decisions took them on. They so rawly shared themselves with a room full of strangers. The moral of their stories was that everyone is one bad decision from being homeless. One bad decision from where you are now and a bad place that you never ever imagined. Luckily there is a place for men like this to change and to have a second chance at life. I was so moved by their testimonies I had to move myself very quickly to the bathroom after their presentation to have a meltdown. I am a sucker for stories of troubles to triumphs.
And now the question is so what? So what do we do now that we have served and been inspired by our many encounters… Hopefully the students will share their thoughts and I will follow up with mine.
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