Volunteer Reflection: An Afternoon at St. Patrick’s Center

By, Missy Kelley, President & CEO

missyOver the past year, I have spent a lot of time thinking about homelessness. I have sat around many tables with city officials, social workers, downtown residents, business people and the police, to find better solutions for St. Louis to help those who are homeless and to address the issues that homelessness presents in the community. It recently occurred to me that the perspective I understood least was that of the social workers who spend their days helping people who find themselves homeless. Today, I began my commitment to volunteering at St. Patrick Center. My first day was one I’ll never forget. I worked alongside volunteers from the Ritz-Carlton, a man sang Blue Christmas to me, I watched a young man cry through his entire lunch, and I was blessed and thanked by almost everyone. Tomorrow, I will sit at another table and talk through ways to mitigate the impact of homelessness on the community. But, I will carry with me my first glimpse into the world that the social workers live each day–it’s a world of people. People who look like me. Some older, some younger, darker or lighter, some happy, some sad, some angry, some ashamed. They are people, though. They are not “the homeless.” They are people who are currently homeless, but they are people. And, I honestly can’t wait to go back and share space with them again.