I was an intern for the Hospitality House in Boone this past Fall semester. I helped out in the front desk and in the food pantry. I wanted to be an intern at Hospitality House for more experience working with a different population than I had before. As a student I was not needing more credits or anything I really just wanted to expand my perspective. I really felt like this experience as an intern has enriched my education and helped me expand my perspective.
Homelessness is something I have not experienced personally and is not something the people around me have experienced. Where I grew up lots of people had opinions about homelessness, but I never really got to hear from the people who were facing homelessness, firsthand. Working at Hospitality House and meeting the people who live there or are just passing through, I have learned so much. I learned about how difficult it is to get out and all the things working against these people. I learned really how to empathize and listen. Listening is such a powerful thing. I found it so beautiful how much people would light up when they realized they have your attention and that you want to listen to their story.
There was one day I was working at the front desk and a man was talking to me about how we was struggling to figure out how to make a resume on an online job site. So I went and sat down beside him on the computer and we started working on his resume. As we were working on filling out his previous work experience, he started to get excited to tell me all about the work he had done in the past. He had done lots of construction, wood working, etc. and started to show me pictures of the work he had done. This eventually brought the work we were doing on his resume to a halt, but I didn't mind. I saw how much he loved talking about the work he had done in the past and how proud he was of his work. The more we talked he started to share how he ended up at the Hospitality House in Boone and all the things that fell apart along the way. Listening to his story really made me change my perspective and have a deeper understanding of how complex homelessness is. This was one of my favorite days working at Hospitality House. I realized sometimes the best way you can help someone is just to take the time to listen.
I am so thankful I had this experience working at Hospitality House. I really feel like I have a new perspective on the world. I am so happy there are places in the world like Hospitality House that are working firsthand with these people to offer them a listening ear and offer them the help they need to get back up on their feet. The people I met and friends I made at Hospitality House are some of the greatest people I have ever met. Even now after my internship has finished I would love to eventually go back and volunteer and help support their mission the best I could!