I’m Joe, co-leader of the workshop and member of the Service Learning Crew. I decided to be a part of the homelessness workshop for many reasons: I wanted to learn more about the issue, be more engaged in my community and because i have friends who are and have been homeless. The issue of extreme poverty and homelessness are very real to me because a few of my high school friends now live under a bridge and move in and out of shelters in my hometown. I know their stories well and have heard similar stories from people I have met during the course of this workshop.
This summer i met a man who was moving around from house to house, staying with friends and sometimes camping in the woods. He was a veteran a severe alcoholic and approaching his late 50’s. He was very friendly, a genuine person and i loved spending time with him. After hanging out with him almost every day for 2 months, i saw that he was losing what little control he had over his life and was beginning to lose faith in his future. His living situation had become very unstable and he had no were to go. Eventually i returned to school for my sophomore year and i lost contact with him. While formulating the layout of our workshop i began to spend time at ABCCM’s VA Restoration Quarters, and low and behold there he was. He was happier than i had ever seen him and looking remarkably healthier. He had stopped drinking and was an active member in the community at the Quarters.
I continue to see him almost every time i go to the quarters and it is always the highlight of my day.I have also met many great men there and have become deeply involved in the programs there. My friends success is due in part to his will power and desire to have control over his own life, but this alone would not have been enough. He needed caring people with the resources to help them and that is something i hope that we are able to do with this workshop; not just learn about an issue but actually help those in need.