Hospitality House means humility. This place means no one is left behind and no one is left to do life alone. Hospitality House means family. Thinking about a traditional homeless shelter, you often think of 1-2 meals a day, possible sleeping arrangements for nightly use, and a shower that could be utilized throughout the week. That is why Hospitality House is not traditional. While we have meals, beds, and showers, we also have staff and interns who care about clients' mental health, resources to help get employment opportunities, unlimited basic necessities needed for a comfortable living situation, and people within the facility always willing to listen and talk with.
Once I found out I was going to have the privilege of interning at Hospitality House, I was not sure what I should be expecting throughout my experience. I knew if I came into this position with an open mind and willingness to learn new skills, I would be smooth sailing. I adapted quickly, I found that I did not need to be so reserved and always have my guard up. The clients we tend to every day are regular people and deserve the amount of respect I would give to my friends and family. I was not an authority figure, I was an outlet for a good conversation, a daily check-in, a kitchen deep clean, or a nice pot of gumbo :).
I was fortunate enough to be able to divvy up my internship time by working in the front and back of this facility. The front desk taught me to stay busy, there is always something to do whether it is checking in on a client outdoors or picking up a few towels by that bathroom, something can always be done. I learned to expand my communication skills, greet people when they are coming by and they may just tell you how their day is going. I acquired listening skills that will take me through the rest of my life, hear someone out before you judge them and assess the scene after you are done listening. During my time in the kitchen, I learned the importance of time management and multi-tasking. The day will go by much smoother if you can do multiple things at once while still remaining focused. I learned mass organization skills. Most importantly, I learned that using skills such as cooking to serve others is a true form of happiness for me.
These last 10 weeks at Hospitality House will forever be engraved in my brain for the rest of my days. I thank everyone I had the opportunity to work with and grow friendships with. I wish you all the best and a healthy (COVID-19 Free) year!
All the best,
Grace E. Courville