I have volunteered on a weekly basis for Dinner and A Movie for more than 6 years. This organization serves young adults and teen agers who are child abuse victims. As a result of abuse, these young people are so psychologically damaged that they have become homeless and cannot participate productively in society. Through mentoring, we work to heal that psychological damage so that they can pursue their dreams of a normal life--home, job, family, etc.
Through my involvement, I've met people I never would have come across in any other way. And I'm so thankful that I have, because it has been a life-changing experience for me. I've learned to see the world through the eyes of people who--through no fault of their own--are "on the outside looking in." I've gotten to know many child abuse victims, and I will never forget them.
Being a part of the work that this organization does--literally saving lives--is very gratifying. On the other hand, hearing about the suicides and murders makes me realize how horrendous child abuse is, and how very important it is to stop it. Child abuse is learned behavior, and many many children who suffer abuse will grow up to abuse their own children. Dinner & A Movie works to break that cycle by mentoring impoverished families who are at-risk for child abuse because the parents are abuse victims.
As someone who has volunteered at DnM for close to ten years. I can honestly say it is one of the most sincere programs in the NW when it comes to helping homeless youth and families. There is no fluff, no apology for doing what's right, no lack real life.. I have seen so much positive change in people from so little, a pair of clean socks, a warm meal or a conversation about life and yes even having the privilege of coming home without my shoes because someone else needed them more than I did.
This program has also changed me, for the better. I work in the same area as the drop-in and see the kids during my work ours. I have been challenged to be honest about who I am and what I stand for. Although I get strange looks from co-workers when homeless kids comes up and shares a story about their day, or just wants to say Hi and ask me if I will be there on Tues night. It always makes me smile.
I can't think of a more noble or effective cause to be a associated with.