Seva at the Homeless Youth Drop-in Center
It was another pleasant evening at the Homeless Youth Drop-in Center in Montrose Grace Place, Houston. The homeless youth were patiently waiting outside as final preparations were underway in the church that hosts them every Thursday evening from 6 PM - 9:30 PM. The Sai youth were there joining the other brothers and sisters who are very passionate about their work. The ages of the youth were between 13 – 21 years of age. Each one signed in - many familiar faces and some new. A few were accompanied by their adorable toddlers who stole everyone's hearts.
The tables were laid out and after going through the customary house rules, dinner was served in abundance to those weary souls while the Sai youth sat amongst them. Aside from a few pleasantries, many were still quite reserved or only comfortable talking to their peers, which is understandable, as some have been incarcerated or many have had or are currently experiencing a life of abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual. One cannot even begin to imagine walking in their shoes. Nonetheless, the Sai youth tried their best to provide a space of Unconditional Love knowing well that at some level the youth knew that the Sai youth were there for them, to support them in any way they could. The Sai youth had to earn and be deserving of their trust.
After dinner, the Youth were taken back two at a time to the big closet area where it was the Sai youth’s turn to escort and assist; as it can get somewhat chaotic in there. They would desperately try to fill their bags with whatever they could in the time allotted. They could choose from a variety of clothes, snacks, toiletries, undergarments, diapers, baby wipes and such. The youth would assist them in trying to find anything specific they were looking for along with engaging in some gentle conversations. Parallel to the closet time, the remaining youth were engaged in the designated activity that was scheduled for that evening. Sometimes, it’s educational in a game format or just a time to play games like Uno. It was another good way to allow the youth to open up or just forget about their worries for a brief time in their life.
As the evening came to a close each bid the other farewell with a heavy heart, knowing that this entire affair is only a drop in the ocean, to offer some respite from hardships.
Hopefully the warmth and love that was felt, will be that flicker of light that can be held on to by the youth as they try to make it through these dark times in their lives.