Youth Board Involvement
While volunteering for a year, I have learned many valuable lessons, which helped me grow into a more understanding and confident person. I've always been self-conscious of what people think about me and afraid I'm not good enough. Many people consider me a shy person. It is sometimes hard to go out of my comfort zone. Working with such a kind staff and friends has helped me go more out of my comfort zone. I am grateful to talk to other and have heard many different stories that have encouraged me to talk more with other people.
When I recently went camping, I also learned more of the struggle of living outside. It was only for 3 days, but it felt much longer. It was a lot of work to wash more dishes and clothes. The bathrooms were a 10 minute walk away and not in a convenient location as I'm used to. We went on a hike, and bugs were everywhere because it had just rained. Upon my return home, I realized that while camping was fun, I was happy to be back in my house with my fluffy bed and warm shower. Homeless people do not have that luxury.
I have been blessed with many things in my life, but not everyone has the great opportunities I have. Being able to experience a different lifestyle has helped me to see how much I have and how grateful I should be for the life that was given to me.
In his novel The Road to Character, author David Brooks defines what it means to have a calling in life by writing, “All of us are given gifts, aptitudes, capacities, talents, and traits that we did not strictly earn. And all of us are put in circumstances that call out for action, whether they involve poverty, suffering, the needs of a family, or the opportunity to communicate some message. These circumstances give us the great change to justify our gifts.” Volunteering for Mr. Bob's is a part of my life that I never knew I needed until that first Saturday I volunteered, but I knew at that moment that the world was calling me to be a part of the Mr. Bob's family. What I never could have imagined was how much my call to arrive would change me.
Through my service, I have learned what it means to be human. Mr. Bob's has not only encouraged me to help those in need, but also to form relationships with them. I have learned that the situations my friends in Milwaukee face do not define them, as they are some of the most compassionate and resilient people I have met. They find ways to care for each other, even when they have nothing to give. Our friends in Milwaukee may live in dangerous and disheartening situations, but that does not make them any less human. These people and their love for others inspire me to open up my heart to the world and continue to make a difference.
I used to think that the world called me to volunteer with MBUTB to help change my community, but in reality, this organization has changed me so much more. I have been given the incredible gift of being able to find myself through the service of others and I will forever be grateful for the MBUTB family that has guided me along the way. My experiences are just the beginning as I look to the future and work every day to live a little more like Mr. Bob and the amazing members of this family.