Service at Montrose Grace Place in
It was another colder than usual Thursday night and the homeless youth were all lined up outside the church of the Montrose Grace Place Drop-In Centre waiting for the doors to open at 6 PM. The timing is usually 6 PM - 9:30 PM and the drop-in center is open every Thursday night. The maximum capacity is usually 25 and frequently they reach capacity. The age group being served was 18-21 which included all races, genders and sexual orientations. The volunteers were there in strong numbers to help. They started the night by eating dinner with the youth and sat amongst them like family engaging in conversation with whomever was open. Usually, there is light hearted conversation which can turn deeper with the right air of trust. Tacos were prepared and served by the local Art Theater who sign up frequently. However direct contact and interaction with the youth is only allowed for those volunteers who complete the 16 hours of training to understand the sensitivity and gravity of the hardship the homeless youth endure every day, along with learning proper communication and listening skills.
After the wholesome dinner, the youth were taken outside for a break and time to mingle. This is also when free bus passes are handed out to all the youth on a weekly basis. The youth heavily depend on this mode of conveyance to help them go to their jobs or schools. Once the break was over, it was time for the scheduled activity. This time it was organized by SalesForce - a company which is known for its Customer Relationship Management system used by several companies. They brought multiple laptops and engaged the youth in creating their own program or codes using rewards such as gift cards and such. Many of the youth were vibrantly engaged as the SalesForce volunteers charged the room with not only their energy but also their remarkable patience. Simultaneously, during the activity, the homeless youth were taken back to the larger closet, two at a time, to help themselves to a variety of clothes, snacks, diapers/wipes, toiletries and so on.
Towards the end of the night, the youth were offered "Group" therapy where those who are open and comfortable can share their concerns in a small gathering where they are offered Love and guidance but more importantly just deep listening in an energy of unconditional Love so they can lighten the burden of their heavy hearts and minds.
As the night came to a close, the volunteers gathered themselves to briefly discuss how the night went overall, areas of growth or concern among the homeless youth along with any suggestions for improvement. They were excited to hear that starting in 2019, the Montrose Grace Place will be open for an extra day per week increasing the frequency to twice a week! This will greatly help address the increasing need amongst the homeless youth in the city who are holding on to any ray of hope the universe has to offer. Only they know their plight and all the volunteers can do, is try to understand how it is to walk in their shoes.