Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Greater than Simply Service": Volunteering at HALO

One of the most valuable traits of The HALO Learning Center (and The HALO Foundation as a whole) is its diversity.  There are all kinds of incredible people who come out and support our organization and, more importantly, support the youth that come to the Learning Center.  Our volunteers and staff members come from all backgrounds, ages, and ways of life but we’re all tied together by the special meaning that HALO holds for each of us.  This week we’re thrilled to feature a unique volunteer named Christina.  Christina worked at the Learning Center as her senior service project and wrote a reflection about her experience that we’re proud to share excerpts from:

I did my senior service project with the HALO foundation. My project consisted of two parts, one in the fall and one in the spring (I had to work around swim season). During the fall, I assisted at the DREAM journaling long term class. In that class we had a journal that HALO had assembled full of positive and future geared art projects and activities to do every week. We would go to the youth shelter every Thursday and hold class with the same kids. For the second part of my project, I assisted with the short term workshops. These were held at the HALO building and youth from ReStart and Hillcrest shelters would come every Wednesday and we would do an art project in that hour and a half about whatever the month’s theme was. […] 

In some ways I think what we shared for an hour and a half every Thursday or Wednesday was greater than simply service. It was all of us shedding the differences placed upon us by what side of Troost we were born on and coming together to create art. Making art together we decompressed, dealt with our excitement, frustration, or sheer exhaustion from the day, and shared together in our dreams and hopes for our future. It was in those moments that I found the silver lining. What it is to live is to experience pain, to deal with hardship, and to be dealt blows you simply don’t deserve, but to be able to share in someone else’s experience and simply be there with them as they deal with it is sometimes all you can do, and that’s ok. That opportunity to share an experience as equals and deal with the challenges and joys of our lives together is the silver lining. When the world seems overwhelmingly heartless and cruel, this experience will always stand for me as a reminder of what is worth striving for. I may not be able to fix the entire world, but I can and should always be present to the people around me. Simply being together, sharing our lives was the greatest gift my senior service offered me and an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”  

Christina’s awesome reflection reminds us that volunteering at the Learning Center provides opportunities for positive, shared experiences that are new every time a volunteer walks through the doors. Interested in volunteering?  Contact Carly Manijak at carlymanijak@haloworldwide.org!

 -Written by Kacie Lundy, HALO Center Intern