So a little about me: I am currently 19 year old college student. I grew up in a little city called York, PA. York is just large enough to be called a city, but not big enough attract much money. I grew up in the suburbs of York, a mini model Levittown. I am very rational thinker and enjoy thinking about and solving problems. As a little kid, my mom would always tell me that I have a very strong sense of right and wrong. Reflecting now, it is so obviously true within the way I think and act. My sense of justice is definitely my fatal flaw. I always have to say something if I morally disagree, whether or not it is helpful. I’ve oftentimes regretted when I sound antagonistic to someone who needs my support.
As for what I do, I am an intern at Broad Street Ministry or BSM for short. Here at BSM we provide services to the homeless population in center city and beyond. These services include, a meal, a place to receive mail, free clothing and toiletries, ID services, and case management. We also have outside partners that include nurses, mental health services, benefits counseling, HIV testing, and more. My job as an intern has mostly been a floater filling the gaps in the staff while we are open. Mostly, I help out by manning the stations. My other responsibilities include making a new Master Document that holds all the previous year’s survey data. Later this month, I will have to take over for one of the Americorp and manage the clothing closet as well as the personal care service.
BSM really focuses on treating the symptoms of poverty through their services. I think the idea is to provide a better life for the guests and when they are ready to find housing and a job link them to those resources. The other main focus of BSM is to provide a community that the guests feel that they belong.
I never expected to be involved in social justice, but through involvement in my church I became more aware of the injustice around me. I heard all about poverty growing up, but it’s really hard to understand the systematic injustice unless you go and talk to people stricken with poverty. My first real experience with this systematic injustice was during the church’s mission trip to Pittsburgh and how the local government decided to demolish large swaths of low income housing for new development meant to attract a wealthier crowd. This was all done without considers where these people would go or afford. Later we would learn about homelessness in Harrisburg, poverty in Mexico on the border, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the struggles of rebuilding New Jersey for low income family.
So far the highlight has been the first time I got to had out someone’s check in the mail service. More often than not, guests will ask about if their check has come in today and usually there wouldn’t be a check waiting for them. Finally one day, one of these guest asked to see if the check has come in and for once, there was a check. After many “bless the Lord”s she walked away glowing.