From Taje, An InternDecember 20th, 2009
This summer I had the privilege of (interning) at St. Anthony’s, a non profit organization that helps underserved people of Francisco. Their mission is to feed, heal, shelter, clothe, lift the spirits of those in need, and create a society in which all people flourish. During my internship at St. Anthony’s I was able to work in many different areas o service. My first experience was in the Dining Room. I was terrified of the setting because I had never been in the Tenderloin area, so I did not know what to expect. Very soon, I found that it was a joy to work there. There is just something about giving a meal to someone who really needs it, but the best reward for me was simply a smile and a “thank you.”
I really loved that the Dining Room at St. Anthony’s was actually called a “dining room,” instead of a soup kitchen. Just the name made it feel like it was a family setting, somewhere you could come home and feel safe, like a home with your own family. And, as time progressed, I felt like I had joined the St. Anthony Family because each time I can to volunteer there was always someone calling out my name. I never knew how much it meant to me that someone knew my name until I started working there. I felt loved because someone actually took the time out of their day to learn my name and remember my face.
Working at St. Anthony’s taught me so much about life. It helped me break down the barrier of my fear of homeless people. I learned that when you are on the outside looking in, you can sometimes be so quick to judge, but when you are inside, taking on the emotions of others, you can identify with them and become more understanding. At first, I thought this internship would feel just like community service, but I feel that I have walked away with so much more than that. Now I fully understand the causes and effects of homelessness, I can really look at all people with respect and not judge them.