Stand UP DC #1: Our First Shabbat in the Nation’s Capital

Greetings for Stand UP DC again! We have continued to have a very busy past few days. Again all of our participants have been fantastic in their engagement toward our programs, events, and speakers. The topic of hunger and homelessness is not a light one to deal with and to see the issue in great effect in the DC area, all of our participants have been eager to learn more. After a great discussion during the afternoon and evening on Thursday, our group has excelled in our conversation a great deal. We are very impressed to see how high level we are discussing this topic with these high school students.

To give you a few highlights, our group partnered with Yachad (theoretically a Jewish Habitat for Humanity group), where our group worked on a house that was owned by a woman who has gained multiple sclerosis and cannot move as well as she used too. She also has 6 children and another 6 grandchildren who come through the home frequently. Our group worked on planting two gardens around the house and also cleaning up all of the weeds and excess plants. It was a very long day as we ended taking a ghost tour and seeing some of the monuments at night.

Another highlight was hearing two very emotional stories from a man and woman who have personally experienced homelessness at the National Coalition of Hunger. Our reflection after this heavy meeting was very rewarding as this opened many of our eyes to this issue and what our group plans to do in order to continue to learn and make that difference, small or big.

We are excited to welcome in Shabbat this weekend at the Historic 6th and I synagogue. Then we will have a group led Saturday morning service followed by an exploration of all the museums and memorials, with an ending of Havdallah on the waterfront in Georgetown.

Here are some quotes from our participants’ experiences so far:

“Today (Wednesday) was my favorite part of the program – I loved talking to Candy and Steve learning about their own personal experiences dealing with homelessness in their lives. Listening to different speakers so far throughout this program has really opened my eyes and changed my perspective on individuals dealing with homelessness, and how each of us should treat these members of our society.” – Sophie

“Learning about homelessness opened my eyes to not only what is around me locally, but also all over the world. Over the past five days I volunteered at many organizations and listened to speakers, while doing fun night activities. This contributed to the whole experience of the program, and I can not wait to continue to learn and grow over the next five days!” -Laura

“Hearing personal anecdotes about homelessness gave me a sense of realization of how fortunate I am to have a loving family who wants and pushes me to succeed and be the very best person that I can be. I was shocked to hear about Steve’s abusive mother and how he coped with the stress and fear of living with a family member who wishes death upon their own child. I wish for all the best for Steve and Candy and look forward to learning about stories from other people dealing with homelessness.” -Mark

“Over the last couple of days, I have participated in service activities, learned about how our Jewish identity plays a role in helping the homeless individuals, and had the chance to make many great friends.” -Alyssa

“In the beginning I would look at people and judge by what they looked like not what was on the inside. Through this trip I have heard the stories of the homeless and it has effected the way I see other people. I want to try to understand why they are where they are and what they do to cope with it.” -Aaron

We are very excited to continue this fantastic program and continue to make a difference.

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment