I sat down at my desk, opened my computer, and while I was waiting for WordPress to load, I lifted my eyes from the screen to look out the window. The wind chimes hanging by my back door were singing, as were the birds, and I beheld the beautiful sunrise pictured above. A perfect Valentine’s Day morning.
Aside from the picturesque sky, I can attest to “There is beauty all around.” That phrase comes from a popular hymn that continues with… “when there’s love at home.”
Maya Angelou said “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself”
February 13th finally arrived. We loaded up seven over-sized Target bags holding two hundred “POP Love Bundles,” and delivered them to Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Youth Resource Center.
We were welcomed by a lovely young man who offered to help us carry the heavy bags inside. Once inside, we saw food for the taking lining the shelves. We met Anna Stapley the program coordinator and she took us on a tour of this amazing facility.
When they say “Homeless Youth Resource Center,” they aren’t kidding! From the outside, the building looks quite small. When you walk in, the space feels cramped…but just you wait; as we began touring we felt like one of the below:
We had actually walked into Dr. Who’s Tardis
Hermione Granger dipped her hand into her magical purse
IKEA had swooped in making the best possible use of this very small space
There were shelves holding large bins of hygiene supplies, baby supplies, food, clothing, shoes, backpacks, blankets, dress clothes for job interviews, sleeping bags and much more.
There were two computers, seven showers, a large open area that I think doubled for serving meals and holding groups.
The center is open:
Mon – Fri 9:15 am- 1 pm (drop in-center)
Mon – Fri 9 am – 5 pm (appointment only or drop donations)
Breakfast served: Mon-Fri 9:15 am – 9:45 am
Lunch served: Mon-Fri 1- 1:30 pm
Dinner served: Friday only 4-4:30 pm
Different groups offered include: Art group, Get an I.D., Horizonte Group (GED and education), Yoga Group, Music Group, Haircut and a Movie Group, Homeless Court (for kids with legal problems), Zine Group (run by the Community Writing Center) and two other groups for talking about what’s on your mind and learning new skills.
…and the services continue…case managers helping youth get connected to community resources, job interviewing skills, assistance for obtaining new social security cards (remember, you can’t get a job without a social security card,) and so much more that I can’t even begin to do it justice. I can’t remember the exact ratio of full time employees to volunteers but I do know there are 20 who give their time freely to help vulnerable youth get stabilized.
Volunteers of America’s mission statement is:
Volunteers of America, Utah is a ministry of service organized to reach and uplift those in greatest need and to provide opportunities to experience the joy of serving others.
We at Pioneers of Peace resonate with that sentiment wholeheartedly.
Right now I wish you could feel what is inside my heart. Take a moment and try to imagine the feeling of seeing so much good being done for so many vulnerable people and then on top of that, add all of the effort on everyone’s part to make POP Operation Love Bundles possible.
We would like to thank each one of you who contributed to the success of this project. From cheering us on, to sending positive energy and prayers and sharing our goals, to financial support, making scarves, buying fabric, socks, protein bars and lip balm. Thank you for writing quotes on paper cranes and then lovingly folding them, and also the actual assembling of the love bundles; We say…THANK YOU! WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT. We have all walked, not just talked.
Our rough calculations show that together we spent $1,030.00 and served 100+ hours for POP Operation Love Bundles. Well done everyone!
Our goal was to let our homeless youth know they are not forgotten. We hope in some small way we fulfilled Maya Angelou’s beautiful quote.
“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself”