My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Operation Nightwatch Portland, Portland, OR, USA
I first began volunteering with Operation Nightwatch Portland about nine years ago. Going there made me nervous at first because I had not closely associated with people on the street before. On my third night of volunteering, the Director asked me to go outside and spend some time with a man who appeared to be too intoxicated to come in. I did. We talked. He told me that he knew alcohol was destroying his life, destroying his wife's liver. He knew he needed to quit but just couldn't. I kept telling him he could when he was ready. Then, we joined hands and prayed. I told him he could come in later after the alcohol had worn off a bit. He did. He gave me a pleasant smile and we talked a bit. We didn't see him for another three months. But then he came back to say that one night had turned his life around. He had checked himself into a treatment program the next day and had now been sober for over two months.
Since that time I have become involved in Operation Nightwatch on a weekly basis and lead a Sunday worship and meal (four years running) and weekly Bible study (nine months). I have the best conversations with people, conversations that I wish I could have at church. But then, this is church. It is our church together.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I see people who have steadily made progress toward self-sufficiency, housing and employment. I see people who were so closed off that they rarely spoke to anyone begin to bloom and become a part of the community. I see people being incredibly patient with others who are on edge--because Operation Nightwatch gives them a calming place of respite and acceptance.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I would like to see the Operation Nightwatch program "cloned" around the city because many areas of the city now have significant numbers of homeless and low income folks with far fewer services available to them in these other areas. I would engage with a couple of partner churches to work toward job creation and employment for folks who are able to do so.