When anyone asks me about the PARC I always have so many wonderful stories to share. I love to tell about the people that walk through our door and about the miraculous changes that I get to observe on a daily basis. I KNOW that lives are truly being changed every day!
So, what is the definition of success? In some cases it is easy to recognize. There are numerous members that have gotten jobs and some have even gotten a place to live. Here at the PARC however, there are many definitions of success. I can tell you about Eric, who when he first came would not look you in the eye or even talk when he was spoken to. He sat in the corner and just watced. Now when Eric walks through the door he has a smile on his face and engages in conversation with all those he sees. He is friendly and has a sense of humor. Erice makes ME smile.
Jaime came in 2 days ago and we were told by the other members to watch out for him. He has a reputation on the streets as a tough guy and one that you should watch out for. When I sat down to talk to Jaime however, he shared with me that he was making a cross for one of his friends. His friend is on meth and Jaime is afraid that he might not make it.. He wanted to give him some reminder that someone cares and is praying for him. One of our members remarked that it is interesting to observe how when people come to the PARC that the mask comes off. They are able to drop the 'tough guy image" and just be who they really are.
Today Jennifer walked through our doors. She had been here before, but was loud, rebellious and had to be reminded many times to watch her language. Today she was different. I sat with her for a while and heard her heart. I heard her story. She told me how she is trying to figure out God and if she can really relate to Him. She has been a drug dealer 'her whole life' and when people told her there was another way she couldn't see the way. There has been a lot of pain and tragedy in her short life. As she was painting a picture she told me, "When I come here and do these 'stupid little projects' I realize that there are things inside of me that I didn't even know about. I start to see that there might be something else I can do besides what I've always known." Jennifer and I talked about forgiveness today. We talked about how much God loves her. We even talked about hearing God and how He talks to her on a daily basis. Jennifer has hope.
There are many definitions of success and we get to see them every day. Those that come to the PARC are reminded that they are valuable and it opens their minds to the possibility of doing things differently so that this cycle they have been trapped in is broken. Through the projects and the creativity that comes they begin to realize that there are gifts and abilities inside of them. Through their feelings of succes as they complete projects they begin to dream again and feel that maybe they can be successful in life.
Success is simply taking a step towards a better way. Even the 'success storie's of those that have begun to work is simply a 'step'. At the PARC we help them to take the steps and each step becomes a moment of success. It is an honor to watch the miraculous changes and to be a part of the amazing success stories that take place. the PARC needs YOU. We have many volunteer opportunities available and we need your donations. Join us in helping those experiencing homelessness to pursue life's possibilities.