Houston, Texas Homeless Seva
The Sai Youth geared up again to join their brothers and sisters in arms for yet another Thursday evening, to show their Love and solidarity to the homeless youth of Houston, Texas. Twenty three youth, aged between 13 and 21 showed up this day at the church which is used to hold the Youth Night organized by Montrose Grace Place. The doors opened at 6 PM as the eager youth made their way in. There were many familiar faces and quite a few new ones. They were all given free bus passes as usual, as they signed in. They all took their seats at the dining tables and the volunteers spread themselves amongst them. A delicious meal was served in plenty, to their hearts content, as the volunteers dined and engaged with them. The youth are usually quite lively and expressive and yet others were quiet and reserved.
Although they are usually conversing among themselves, there was one youth who was very passionately engaged with one of the volunteers, sharing his knowledge of the Bible, the depth and detail of which was astounding. One thing is very evident every time, though they may be Homeless but their IQs are actually quite high. This time they also learned that the girl next to them and also her friend were both stabbed in the past. One in the back and the other in the head. What that journey was like only Bhagawan knows, but the amount of hardship and violence these Divine Souls face in their lives, both past and present is all too common.
After dinner there was a Youth activity where the folks from Legacy Clinic, a free clinic that caters mostly to the LGBTQ community, came to coordinate and lead with their own usual flare and enthusiasm. During this scheduled activity, the youth were taken back to the "closet" two at a time to help themselves to a variety of clothes, snacks, diapers, toiletries and so on, till all of them had a turn. Volunteers assisted in any way they could while continuing to engage with them.
Although they offer "group" sessions or counseling sessions at the end of the night, most of the homeless youth tend to call it a night and head to their respective locations. However this particular night, three youth decided to stay back. Everyone sat in a circle and one particular youth who was fairly regular and also usually very joyful and vibrant decided to share something quite painful. It was apparent she wasn't her usual self that day. She opened up about the previous assaults and stabbing from her now ex-girlfriend and how she continues to suffer from victimization and suicidal thoughts. She talked about how these experiences caused outbursts of anger and how it disrupted her ability to sustain a job. She was on medication which helped calm her somewhat. The volunteers patiently listened and counseled her to the best of their ability but the most important part about these sessions is the "Listening" and creating an environment of unconditional Love and understanding in a non-judgmental way. All the while making sure the Youth are safe and calling the necessary professionals if they sensed anyone was in immediate danger to themselves or others.
This long night drew to a close and the depth and darkness to which the youth were plunged into, was challenging and heart wrenching to say the least. May Bhagawan continue to guide the youth to stay strong and shine their light as bright as they can, as they hold the vision for a brighter and better tomorrow!