Volunteering With Love

H2O students and staff were eager to start the new school year with service. So it was with gratitude that we received a request from Lakewood volunteer and fierce advocate for the homeless, Bob Shores. His young neighbors had assembled bags of personal necessities to donate to people living unhoused. Bob has a deep care and respect for every person and wanted the donations to be delivered with personal messages. So, H2O assembled a great crew of high school volunteers!

The volunteers created the cards by putting a pre-printed message on the front and adding a hand-written sentiment on the inside. We suggested simple messages, something to convey care and compassion. What they created, however, were powerful and compassionate pieces of writing. They had really thought about the people who would receive the cards and made heartfelt connections. Here are some examples:

“I’m writing this note to express some love and positivity to you and hopefully make your day a little brighter! Please enjoy this bag and note and remember that there will always be someone out there who loves and cares for you!”

“I hope that you find the kind of home where your heart beats happily and receive the help that you deserve. Many have struggled to feel comfort within our homes, neighborhoods, and cities…Know that you aren’t alone.”

“I hope you’re having a blessed day! Never give up and be you! Just know you always have a meaning on this earth and you are not alone. I hope this card brings light to your day or even everyday.”

“We hope you have a great day! We send kindness, love, and peace to you. We send blessings to you as well. Remember to never give up. You are important!”

Bob shared with H2O participants stories about his volunteer experience, working with various organizations doing direct outreach to people experiencing homelessness. He told them that the personal care kits are more than a practical donation; they are a way to build trust and connection and to open conversations. They can lead to understanding the barriers to finding shelter, such as mental health issues, trauma, and addiction. Seen in that light, the high school volunteers recognized that they were part of a chain of outreach, a larger effort to connect with and support some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

We really appreciate Bob Shores for bridging H2O volunteers to the care and advocacy for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. We met Bob when he joined our Summer Service Camp pool of volunteers, helping campers prepare Clothing Drive the past couple of years. He has enriched our volunteers’ experiences and been a valuable part of providing service learning for youth in Lakewood. 

H2O is a youth volunteer program sponsored by the City of Lakewood’s Division of Youth Office. H2O receives tremendous support from the Lakewood City Schools, the Lakewood Foundation, generous donors and a dedicated group of adult volunteers.

Emmie Huchison

H2O is a youth volunteer program sponsored by the City of Lakewood’s Division of Youth Office. H2O receives tremendous support from the Lakewood City Schools, the Lakewood Foundation, generous donors and a dedicated group of adult volunteers.

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Volume 18, Issue 18, Posted 12:38 PM, 09.21.2022