One of my roles at OIM is Youth Internship Coordinator, where I have the privilege of helping our street-engaged youth find work placements in the community. A couple of weeks ago I reached out to a potential employer on the behalf of one of our youth. Right out of the gates, the employer gave me a flat "no"! The employer told me that they've tried internships before and it "just didn't work" for them. You can imagine how that would have felt for the young person to receive that "no". For many of us, youth and adults alike, that "no" is discouraging and paralyzing - especially for those who have lived a lifetime of rejection and abandonment! I was glad to be a buffer, absorbing that rejection for them. I gently prodded the employer to find out what didn't previously work for them, and was able to explain how those issues wouldn't be a problem in our program. As we explored the issues together and developed a rapport, the employer became increasingly more interested in the program, to the point where they would now like to meet the young person who I had in mind for their organization! We had gone from a flat "no" to serious interest! Yeah!
As I reflected on the situation above, I realized that this is what we do at OIM every day! Whether it is our veteran's program helping a veteran find secure housing, or a volunteer in the street outreach team helping someone find the right social services support for them, or the internship program helping a young person find their way into the world of employment, we work to help our street friends and youth get "unstuck" when they need it - to find a way where there wasn't a perceived way forward and to sometimes be an advocate.
Who of us does not feel stuck sometimes? Who of us doesn't need help at some point? I believe we all do! And for our street friends and youth, the need for trustworthy support is especially important. I am so thankful to be part of an organization that helps our friends to become "unstuck" and to assist in their journey forward! Thank you for your support in the important work that we are privileged to do!
"Open your mouth for the people who cannot speak, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
~Kevin, Youth Internship Coordinator