volunteers with BRC's Outreach team, and has been at Penn Station every other Saturday since August 2015.
Why did you first start volunteering with BRC?
I volunteered with BRC because my wife and I found ourselves homeless for 6 months during the Great Depression in 2012. There is no stereotypical face of homelessness. Anyone, at any time (like my wife and I did) can slip through the cracks. I was profoundly humbled by the experience and wanted to be a part of BRC's great homeless outreach program to now do my part.
How has your relationship with BRC changed since you first started volunteering?
Initially, my first few volunteer weekends were challenging in that I was a bit nervous in approaching homeless individuals. But I had wonderful BRC staff training that got me through the initial unease. I was supposed to only commit to a 3-month period of Volunteer Outreach, but I enjoyed it so much that I could not stay away, and continue to volunteer every other Saturday at Penn Station. My must rewarding experience with BRC is when we transport a homeless client to a shelter and get them off the street.
If you were to recruit a friend or colleague to support BRC, what reason would you give for why they should join?
I would say your life will never be the same after you volunteer for Homeless Outreach. You will feel good about helping those less fortunate. You will never judge homeless folk again because you will listen to their stories, and realize it can happen to anyone.
What have you learned from volunteering at BRC that you would not have learned anywhere else?
I always thought giving homeless men and women money would help. But a "hand up" is more efficient in long run than a "hand out." Had I not volunteered with Homeless Outreach, I could not have learned this.