Stand UP DC 2: Update #3

Dear Families,

Our last few days in DC were packed with speakers, service projects, and a visit to the BBYO International Office. Instead of writing to you about what we have done, I am emailing with thoughts, comments, and reflections from your teens. You’ll notice that some of the quotes have names while others don’t. We gave your teens the option of signing their name or leaving it anonymous.

This morning’s goodbyes were difficult and heartfelt; twelve days together brings a lot of close bonds through shared experiences; we hope your teens will share their experiences with you!

Thank you for allowing us to spend the last two weeks with your teens, we have enjoyed our time together and have learned so much from one another!

Enjoy the rest of your summer,
Jordana

Below are thoughts your teens shared this past Sunday evening:

Talking openly with the homeless has broadened my perspective on the issue at large.

I’ve learned that even though everyone is going through different struggles, everyone deserves the same levels of respect.

Having an amazing time!

I have learned so much about homelessness and it has opened my eyes so much.

I am more aware of current issues on homelessness and poverty.

The activities are intense, very interesting and have taught me a lot. The people are fun and it has been a wonderful experience!

I will definitely be less of a judgemental person from this experience.

Hearing stories has taught me so much. -Benjamin

Over the past few days, I have met volunteers and staff at the service sites that truly are making a difference and are pure of heart.

I’ve become so grateful for what I have. I now have a whole new perspective on people experiencing homelessness in my community. -Rachel

I learned a lot about homelessness and hunger and I have learned about myself.

I’ve learned that it’s never okay to judge someone because chances are that you don’t understand their situation or who they are or how they got there.

This trip has changed my perspectives on homeless people for the better.

This experience has been so fulfilling and I now have a whole new outlook on life. -Lauren

Through this program I have become more grateful for what I have. -Emma G.

I feel like I am making a difference in the community. -Jayden

Below are responses from a reflection activity we did on Tuesday evening:

We are not superior to those experiencing homelessness, hunger, and poverty. They deserve the same respect we do.

By giving love and compassion to people you see in the streets, you will most likely get it back.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their situation – they are still human.

I’ve learned that it’s never okay to judge someone because chances are that you don’t understand their situation or who they are or how they got there.

No matter if you’re homeless or not, you shouldn’t be dehumanized because you’re still a person.

This trip has changed my perspectives on homeless people for the better.

People want to at least keep their dignity, so being told that they need help can often not be helpful, but showing you care about the cause and their well being can be beneficial.

Outreach is more than dropping and dashing; it is about talking and forming relationships.

Jonathan and I spoke at great lengths about what “problems” look like in our lives. They may be different, but everyone has problems.

Once I got to know some people experiencing homelessness, I could relate to them more.

It takes time to make a drastic change; however, every effort counts towards something/someone.

Each person we talk to or each person we feed or each place we volunteer all make a difference in the end.

Understanding that people experiencing homelessness are people just like the rest of us is important.

We are all humans, no matter our circumstances.

Whenever we speak to someone experiencing homelessness, we realize how much we actually have in common.

Everyone is human, but different in their own way.

These two weeks I’ve learned how normal those experiencing homelessness are and how wrong I was.

A smile and kind words can really go a long way for someone… especially if they have been ignored for years.

Many times the work we do each day may seem small, but with each service site we make a small difference that can be life changing.

Each small difference comes together to make a big one.

Homelessness is something that occurs all over, so I can apply the lessons learned in D.C. to where I live.

Let’s keep our eyes and ears open at home! What would happen if we lived with a spirit of availability rather than always pursuing our individual agenda?

Every time I helped someone, I saw how happy they were and realized what a difference kindness makes.

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