Letting Voices Be Heard
I never once thought I would be interning at the Hospitality House. Growing up, I was told that Hospitality House is where many who are experiencing homelessness seek shelter in. I remember hearing negative rumors and being so scared to walk past Hospitality House as I was taking a shortcut to return to the high school. This all changed when I stepped foot into the building and slowly began getting to know the residents better.
One day, I asked Todd for permission to work on the bulletin board just outside the back office and he had said yes. My main goal was to catch the attention from both the older and younger residents all while making sure they would stop and read the information for their own benefit. While working on the board I never expected to have many residents walk up to me to just to chat. Through chatting, I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with the residents. Many told me about their childhood, family they had, or even vented to me about their current situation.
The more I worked on the bulletin board, the more residents came up to me to talk. I started looking forward coming to Hospitality House just to speak to the residents. One day, while I was working on the bulletin board, I saw a woman who I recall used to always sit beside me on the AppalCart freshman year when I was going back and forth between high school, Caldwell Community College and my internship. Every time she would get on the bus, check to see if I was there, and sit next to me and just chat about anything going on in her life. As she called out to me, we suddenly remembered each other and began to have a conversation.
As she was catching me up on her life, I remember wishing there was more I could do for her and the other residents than just doing tasks around Hospitality House. But then I realized a lot of the residents that approached me were not asking for anything of me, but instead they only wanted to talk and let all their feelings out. Sometimes, just listening is all somebody might need.