A Thanksgiving Story from a Drop-In Center Client told by Pam, SBY Staff
Before we began to eat, I asked for someone to bless the food as I do each year.
Prayer doesn’t always come easy for so many of our youth. They are sometimes angry at God….sometimes don’t understand where He sits in the midst of their situation. I’m always fully prepped to step in and lead but still give a chance for someone whose voice might want to be heard.
That night, after asking a couple of times, I was about to begin when I heard a timid voice from the back of the room.
“I’ll do it, Ms. Pam”…. And Pete* stepped into the center of the room and blew us all away.
Pete is a long-time member of our community. He struggles with an addiction and a mental health issue. He trusts us, so he keeps coming back.
We’ve had to have him hospitalized when he became a danger to himself. We’ve brought him blankets and food when he refused to come inside. He’s slept on the bench outside our facility on nights he should be anywhere but.
He’s had more than a few days of taking his pain out on all of us.
Still, that day, with so much clarity and love, Pete thanked God for “second and third and endless chances.”
He asked God to keep a watchful eye on “all of us who struggle with drugs and diagnoses.”
He said a blessing for “the staff that never gives up on us…even when they probably should”.
He thanked his peers for “welcoming each other as a community when there are so
many reasons we could hate each other.”
As the whole room stood speechless, moved and stunned by his words, Pete caught my eye and sweetly asked, “…Is that good, Ms. Pam…? It’s all I’ve got.”
I couldn’t speak because I knew I would cry at the sheer courage and strength of his beautiful voice.
Pete gave us the greatest gift this Thanksgiving and reminded us all why we do what we do each day.
If you or someone you know is couch surfing, homeless, or just needs a safe place to stop by, we are here for you. Click to find a Drop-In Center near you, or call our 24-hour hotline at (202) 547-7777.
About the Drop-In Center: The Sasha Bruce Barracks Row Drop-In Center is a safe environment for young adults of all genders, up to age 24, experiencing homelessness.
This trauma-informed environment provides acceptance and hope. It serves as part of an integrated service system in which youth will transition from street-based contact to the Drop-In Center to eventual transitional housing.
*Name changed to protect client confidentiality