Operation Nightwatch Portland
November 8, 2011
I began volunteering with ONW about twelve years ago. I have to say that it has been the most satisfying and fulfilling volunteer work I have ever done. Recently I have started and art class on Thursday nights where we do various projects and just generally have a good time together. ONW is a place that gives a sense of community, not just to the people we serve, but to us as volunteers as well. I consider the men and women there more than people I am serving, they are my friends. Living on the fringes of society can be extremely isolating, and what ONW does is to give folks a hand out of that isolation, a place to come and feel like family. I should mention that I am also a board member at ONW, but I count it my greatest privelidge to spend time at the center volunteering and offering my friendship to those who most need a friend. We hand out sanwhiches and provide coffee, do some light set-up and clean-up, but it is the conversations, discussion, card games, and scrabble that are the heart of what we do. I go on Thursdays to offer my friendship, and receive the same.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I have seen people open up and begin talking who were silent for years. I have seen people with very little to smile about laughing and enjoying time together with friends over a cup of coffee. I have watched dignity happen when someone has shared a story, or played a song on the piano, or made a piece of art that they were proud of. I myself have been uplifted, listened to and encouraged by the friends I have made at ONW. These are essential human needs, and I see them met every time I volunteer.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I wish we could have more staff as our Executive Director is really streched to his limit.
Volunteer & I facilitate art class one night a week.