This past week, Moira, our youth outreach worker got the flu – the bad kind. After a few days away she thought she could return to work and attend a seminar, but at noon I told her we needed to go. She did not look well. She tried to take some chicken soup, but that did not go well. She rested at the office, but it wasn’t enough. We had to cancel Passion4Youth art program and I told her I would drive her home.
On the way home, Moira took it upon herself to personally contact each of the kids in the art group, to let them know of the cancellation, that she would be OK, and that if they needed a food hamper that they should to come to the office.
I was deeply moved by her interactions with the youth, and equally by the caring responses by the kids.
From what I heard (by accident) the kids were very sorry she was not well, yes they would be fine, and how could they help? One offered to bring tea to her apartment. Others suggested a hot bath, plenty of rest and drinking lots of water. All good advice, but even more so when we realize that these kids hardly looked after themselves.
The caring responses by Moira perfectly completed each scenerio. Concerned more for the kids than herself, Moira consistently and skillfully redirected each conversation back to the kids themselves. “Are you going to be all right?” “What happened then?” “Wow, what do you think will come of it?” and many more questions of concern were made came as we travelled to her home.
No wonder our youth group has done so well! That kind of care and attention to people is not something that just happens every day. It is a beautiful thing.
(The following is an observation, and is not meant to reflect pride (although I am very proud of the people who come alongside us to be a blessing)).
Multiply that by almost one hundred volunteers, and it is not hard to see why our street friends and youth hold OIM in such high regard.
Question: Think of the times when someone reached out to you – at a cost to themselves. Remember how much that meant to you? If you were alone and lonely (like many of our friends who call the streets their home) can you imagine that the impact would be that much greater?