Do you ever think about that pair of shoes that you saw at the store the other day? Or those designer jeans? You wanted them so badly but mom said, “No.” You were upset the rest of the day, moping around the house.
I have succumbed many times to the wanting of new things, and I am sure I will again. However, something I experienced the other day will make me think twice about those designer jeans at the mall.
On Tuesday, June 10, 2008, I volunteered at Project Homeless Connect. When I first arrived, I really had no idea what I was doing or how I was helping. I was standing in front of a parking ramp, handing out parking vouchers to all the volunteers that gave their time to help others in need. Something that seemed very boring, but helped more people come to volunteer, knowing they wouldn’t have to pay for anything. Later, when most of the volunteers had arrived, my cousin Felix and I had time to go explore the River Centre in downtown St. Paul where everything took place.
When we walked in, I saw some really amazing things. Everything that anyone needed was ALL in this building. There were volunteers showing homeless people different booths. Each booth had something different that would help their lives change for the better. There was hair cutting, dental assistance, medical assistance (blood pressure and general health), Eye Exams, a food station, a housing station, a legal station, an advocacy station, help for veterans, and at the end if they completed a survey they got a free bus pass. A shuttle bus also took people to Sears, where they received a free Minnesota state picture ID. Since everything was in the same building, it was easy for people that had nothing, to receive all the help they needed.
That night we all went home tired, but we had definitely made a difference. We had helped over 1200 people to receive everything they needed. We hope that with this help they will be able to straighten out their lives. One homeless person even said that she was so impressed with all the volunteers, she was going to come back and volunteer next year. This shows that with help she believes she can change her life for the better. The homeless people learned many new things on Tuesday, including that they can make a living for themselves. They now have the knowledge it takes to find a job, a house, and become someone that they never had the chance to be.
Kayleigh McClure is 14 years old. She lives in Maplewood and she recently graduated from Parkview Center School in Roseville. She will be in 9th grade in September at Roseville Area High School.