from Nick Hart, Adult Chaperone
On the evening of December 2, 13 Follen youth and three adult chaperones ventured into downtown Boston to participate in the City Reach program. City Reach is a program that gives young people the opportunity to learn first hand about homelessness from people who have experienced it. Meeting youth groups from other area churches at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont St, our youth went on an intentional walk with City Reach staff, who are experienced in being unhoused. After sleeping in the church together, we helped give away thousands of donated items. The Follen FUUY group was responsible for giving out shirts and sweaters. There was time for group reflection and purposeful thought given to what we can do next.
“I can do more, and I need to do more. More than ever I came away knowing the importance of community in breaking down the oppressive systems and institutions that keep people marginalized and unhoused.”
“I found that a lot of the stereotypes I had were dispelled and a lot of people were very nice.”
“I loved the idea of helping and actually feeling like I was making a change.”
“One of the things that I enjoy about City Reach was learning about people’s stories.”
“I learned about how the community is joined together and everyone knows everyone.”
“I loved how kind the community of those experiencing homelessness was, and it has inspired/reminded me to practice the same kindness in my own life, because it doesn’t cost anything. I also learned that sometimes we try to help by thinking of what WE can do for THEM, but we should rather consider what THEY want & need.”
“The people were wonderful.”
“I was struck by the compassion and kindness that the community showed us and each other, despite everything that they are going through.”
“We were all talking about how we were looking forward to going home, sleeping, and showering after the experience- it reminded me of the privilege that we take for granted, considering that many of the people we were working with don’t have the same experience.”
Thanks to Beryl for organizing the trip, to the adult chaperones, and especially to Follen’s Fabulous Youth.