Deciding to do a year of service was an easy decision for me. I am grateful that my family has always been supportive of any decision I made; whether it was a salary paid job or doing a year of service. My family did not understand what a year of service entailed and no matter how many times I tried to explain to them, they were still confused. That never stopped them from being supportive of what I wanted to do though. All they knew was the work I decided to do would be amazing. They understood that it would get hard and sticky, both with work and living in community but the important thing is that we all would make it together.
There were others in my life though who did not understand and were not supportive of my decision to do a year of service. Explaining to them the many opportunities that are available after the year of service still did not help. Explaining to them how much Mercy takes care of their volunteers is something they cannot fathom. I am grateful for the opportunity Mercy Home has given my 14 housemates and me. Not only to do a year of service to help our youth, but also the opportunity to have allowed us to meet and work together through our own challenges.
Social Work positions are not about the money; they are about people loving what they do for others. When I began the Mercy Works Program, I did not know what to expect. Yes, I went through the phone interview and in-person interview and paid close attention to everything that was being communicated to me. But I still was not able to really grasp the idea of what I was getting myself into. I was extremely nervous about meeting my housemates and I was also nervous about meeting the team I would be working alongside. I was especially nervous about meeting the youth. After all that worrying, I am now blessed to have an amazing and supportive team. The people I work with are very attuned to the needs of every person and understand how stressful the job can be.
“I am grateful for the opportunity Mercy Home has given my 14 housemates and me. Not only to do a year of service to help our youth, but also the opportunity to have allowed us to meet and work together through our own challenges.”
Working with young ladies, ages 14-17, in Walgreen Home is definitely not an easy task. While the girls push you to the limit, how else can anybody grow in their position? At least those are questions I ask myself every day going into work. There are days that are harder than others working with these girls, but I appreciative the opportunity to work closely with them and help them strive for new goals. Seeing them accomplish their goals, is what makes this job that much more worth it. It makes the long days and nights not seem so bad. It makes my job more gratifying because of the simple fact that WE are all making a difference in the lives of our youth. The most gratifying feeling is when my youth tell me I am “irritating” & “annoying them”, and “doing too much” every single day, but then getting told I am missed when I get back from having my two consecutive days off. It did not make much sense to me at first, but slowly I have realized that I might be impacting their lives more than I think and that they are impacting mine just as much.
I am indebted to Mercy Home for the opportunity to be able to change the lives of these kids, but also for the life lessons I am getting from my kids as well. It is a learning experience for both the kids and for the staff working with them. These kids test us every single day in good ways and in bad, but it only makes us work harder alongside them and helps us appreciate the work that we do even more.
No matter what people think and how supportive or unsupportive they are of my decision to commit to a year of service, I am especially thankful for the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and to see my work make a difference. I wake up every day with a smile on my face, knowing I made the right decision for myself and I cannot wait to see the amazing things I will learn this year. I thank Mercy Home for having such an amazing program and giving us the many opportunities to be a part of our kid’s lives.