I am so excited to share with you the news of the PARC’s first few days. We have been open only a few days, but the stories of connection and success are already being told. It is a wonderful thing to watch the volunteers engage with our members. As volunteers and members participate in the projects and activities conversation really flows. As they are busy with their hands they are more comfortable sharing their stories and their hearts.
Tim came to the PARC the second week that we were open. It didn’t take long to see that he is a brilliant man with a mind for mechanics. As the volunteers got to know Tim and to hear his story, one of our volunteers was able to find a job that is a perfect fit for Tim. He started on Tuesday!!
When Joshua came for the first time we talked about jobs and working. He told me that he didn’t really want to work. He said that he can always get money when he needs it through panhandling or Day Labor. There is always a place to find food, shelter, and a hot shower. As we continued to talk, however, he made the comment, “But this can’t go on forever.” The next day when Joshua came he couldn’t stay. He was on his way to apply for a job!!! Janice has come every day since we opened. She is having trouble finding a job because she has a felony. On Friday I was able to connect her with Eloy from Goodwill. He came by to talk with her and help her know better how to approach employers since she has a felony on her record. They are meeting on Monday so that he can help her apply for jobs. Katy needed help with her resume and we were able to refer her to Workforce Solutions, who will help her to update and print out her resume.
Hearts and minds are being opened and changed as our members are shown value and dignity. When J.J. first came he couldn’t stop talking. He had the ear of one of our volunteers that gave him her undivided attention for 2 hours. J.J. is an artist. He comes in every day to draw, paint, and share. He told one of the volunteers that he can't wait each day for the PARC to open because, "Out there I'm nothing. In here I am somebody."
The members are not the only ones who are being changed. Some of the things our volunteers have said: “This morning has been fun… love talking with everyone. I think I will get as much therapy as we are trying to give.” “Just wanted to let you know that I had a great day yesterday. I met so many wonderful people. Thank you for getting me involved.”
The PARC is truly a place of redemption. Those who are experiencing homelessness are finding their value through relationships. They are becoming aware of life’s possibilities and moving towards breaking that cycle of homelessness. What was only a vision has now come to pass. Many lives are being redeemed.