I’ve been volunteering here quite a bit and I work as well, so I’m pretty busy at the moment. I’ve done all sorts of jobs in the past: landscaping, painting, security, cooking… I have lots of experience dealing with people who are unusual, quirky and odd. I seem to attract them. I must be a little unusual, quirky and odd myself.
My role here is Social Services Intern. I organize everyone and help run the floor, help people access the services here. I also do intake interviews, talk to people about their current situation, begin to make an action plan, discuss how we can get them on the road to recovery. Sometimes they are not ready. We are fishing for someone who is ready to make a change. If they are, we talk about the possibility of living here or other services that can help them get back on track.
You can’t change unless you are ready. If you are about to jump between two cliffs, you have to make sure you are ready. When you make the leap, you have to make it, so you can’t do it half-heartedly. You either commit or you don’t. You have to be mentally and physically ready to get off the street. Frankly, there will be bumps in the road.
If someone just gets a job without addressing the underlying problem, they will be really unhappy and hate that job and return to drinking or drugs or whatever they were doing before. The idea that a job is the answer and then it will all fall into place is absolute nonsense. You have to keep building on everything. Getting a job is just a tiny piece of the puzzle.
What I like about Anawim is that it provides a good environment right off the bat. Even right now, we’re sitting outside in a garden with beautiful trees around us. That right there, sends a very positive message to our brains. It’s not crowded. It’s a house, right? People are happy. People really care. A person coming in high on drugs is not the norm here.
I would highly recommend volunteering at Anawim. The experience you can get here is really diverse and I guess you can use this experience to impress all sorts of employers.