Well, what do I say about my first time being involved with No Fixed Address? When I came on as a summer student, I had no idea what I was really in for. I had done research into the YWCA and their signature event of course, before beginning, but nothing can really prepare you for actually living it.
Coming into work every day at one of the shelters the YW runs grounded me from day one.
Every morning I walk past the ladies standing outside, talking together and starting their day. I say good morning and smile, stop and chat if they show an interest, before heading up to the loft to start the day. Through the social media management, the meetings, the donor relations, the planning and running around, I always have these ladies in the back of my mind.
The day of NFA brought them screaming to the front.
When the sky opened up and soaked me through, I thought of them, and wondered how many had been caught in weather with nowhere to go. Those moments when I felt a little lost because I was aimless, I thought of them and wondered what it must feel like to not belong anywhere. Finally, when it came time to sleep in my car I thought of them.
With the windows open, and loud people around me; with no sense of privacy or personal space, with cramps in my back I thought of them. Then I cried. I sat there in the front seat trying to get comfortable and thought of these women I talk to every day, and the journey that brought them to us.
Please don’t get me wrong, I had so much fun throughout the day. I made new friends, laughed, and danced (badly). I enjoyed the games and the feeling of working together to make a difference. I will absolutely be back next year to help in any way I can.
Ultimately though, this amazing experience humbled me, and I am just so grateful for it.