The Privilege of Service

I’ve stalled as long as I can tonight at the Single Mom Support Group. I’ve set up dinner. I got the childcare volunteers brought up to speed. I put together this month’s gift of cleaning supplies and left them by the front door for the mom’s to grab on their way out. Earlier in the day Alyssa and I cleaned the offices, tucked away donations, and scrubbed the toilets before our guests arrived. I’ve visited a little bit with each mom and played a little bit with each kiddo. I found some job training resources for one mom.

But I need to get back to my family. I need our staff member to have the space to facilitate the group tonight.  I need to let our teen volunteers to pour love and attention on the sweet kids. I need to get out of everyone’s hair but I want to do it all. I tend to lick my paw and smear it all over what everyone else needs to do.

I don’t just let anyone interact with the residents at The Sparrow’s Nest or the clients of The Branch Resource Center. I feel fiercely protective of these women. The residents at The Sparrow’s Nest will not be part of some Poverty Petting Zoo. I’m not going to let someone who just wants to feel better about themselves work with young mothers. This is why I’ve made it challenging to become a volunteer that works directly with the residents. I don’t feel the residents need to prove anything to the volunteers. It’s the volunteers that need to prove their motivation.

The same is true of the women who come through the services of The Branch Resource Center. I will go to blows to protect their dignity. I don’t ask them why they need diapers or wipes or clothes for their children. For a woman to come to us and ask for those items takes a tremendous amount of humility and courage. For volunteers to work with clients of The Branch I need to know beyond shadow of a doubt they will look past face piercings and neck tattoos and see the true beauty of this woman. I even want to the dinner we provide to be one step up what you would normally bring someone.  I need to know they will not past judgement when they hear poor financial decisions. I need to see that their children will be loved on and appreciated for where they are in that one hour a month.

As I sit in the drive way of Sparrow offices  I feel my chest tightening and my eyes starting to sweat. I hurt for these moms but I am so proud of them for not giving up, for being so resourceful, to keep getting up everyday and trying again to take care of their kids, of themselves, of their lives. I want to accidentally sit next next to them at church. I want to see them on the flip side of this current season of their lives free and courageous and joyful. I’m so thankful for our staff members like Amanda taking the time to tailor the topics of the group to the members and for Alyssa creating fun crafts and activities that will reach any age of any boy or girl and for Sue going the extra mile to reach out to moms to remind them of the monthly meeting. I’m excited for our teen volunteers to giggle and tickle these precious children. I feel like singing the song “Furious.” I don’t know why we get to be a part of these little families lives but I am thankful for the privilege of service.

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