My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Operation Nightwatch Portland, Portland, OR, USA
I discovered Operation Nightwatch about 10 years ago, shortly after moving to Portland from the Midwest. Since then I've been a regular "first Friday" volunteer. I was about to say that this is 'one of the truly unselfish things' that I do...but then I realized that I get so much back in return from serving the guests that come each evening, I can hardly make that claim.
Operation Nightwatch puts a face on homelessness. Each evening I talk with guests whose lives have taken some awful turns. Some I see every month; and they have become friends. Volunteering here reveals an additional dimension of diversity that I would not experience any other way.
I support this ministry financially as well because I know it is run on a shoestring, and most of money goes to doing good for those we serve. And, because I'm involved as a volunteer, I get to see those dollars doing good every day.
Some say this population of people needs to be pushed toward goals and specific outcomes, like getting a home or finding a job. Nightwatch has different, yet very powerful focus: Building Community and Self Respect! As a student of psychology, I'd label what we offer as the "Carl Rogers approach" to emotional health. When we listen to and affirm others, their inner strength grows. How many of the guests who pass through our doors have moved on to better lives (and have been able to tackle the larger challenges in their lives) because of the self respect that grew from seeds planted and nurtured each evening playing a games, sipping coffee, and just being a part of a safe and caring community.
THANK YOU Operation Nightwatch for making a difference for so many in Portland, and for the chance to know and love people that I'd otherwise look away from.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
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