Operation Nightwatch provides such a valuable resource for the community. If you have never been there, I encourage you to go. You will not regret it. I had the good fortune to walk in there a few years ago. Talk about a lifelong impact. As a professional and a advocate for the homeless, I am in awe of all that Nightwatch is and provides. Do yourself a favor, volunteer, donate, refer someone you see on the streets to take advantage of this amazing nonprofit.
As a professional social worker and a volunteer, I am proud and very grateful that Operation Nightwatch exists. It provides so much more than a place for people to go for a couple of hours per night. It provides hope, compassion and conversation. For anyone who has not been to Nightwatch, you are missing out and owe yourself the opportunity to truly see the important work that this program provides. I am honored to be a part of Nightwatch and will always support this wonderful program!
I first had that opportunity to volunteer at Nightwatch three years ago as a student and I continue to volunteer to this day. Nightwatch is so much to so many people. What makes it so amazing is difficult to describe but easily seen if you have the opportunity to visit. Rather it be the smiles on peoples faces, the chatter in the corner, the vision of groups of people playing scrabble or seeing a person be able to sit down and feel safe for the first time in the day. As a social worker in the field, Nightwatch is to me an inspiration, it gives me hope and reminds me why I got into this field in the first place. Nightwatch does what many nonprofits don't do, they let people be themselves and allow for a clean and safe place to socialize with other people. Very few if any places exist that just allow people to be themselves and to come as they are. If it wasn't for Nightwatch so many people would not have the opportunity to do what so many of us take for granted, the ability to socialize other people and to be treated like a person instead of a nuisance. I honor Nightwatch and what they do, they run flawlessly and on a shoestring budget. Nightwatch is very well deserved of some assistance as they provide so much to so many.
I have worked many years in community services. I have a graduate degree in social work and have also participated as a chaplain. I came to Nightwatch as a friend of young musicians who Nightwatch welcomed to contribute to the program of the evening. They and I also participated in the food serving and mingling with the people who came.
Through the evening, I had the privilege of watching Roger and his associates as they led in the nightwatch program. Roger as the leader of this organization could not have a better approach. He treats each person with dignity and respect and each individual who comes are obviously encouraged by his kindness, warmth and family/fatherly mentoring. He is a beautiful role model for his staff and they all follow his example. The homeless have come to feel that this is their family, that this is their home. Many of them stay as long as possible, reluctant to leave. The food is always home-made and they can have as many refills as they want. Roger leads a calm, beautiful spiritual service, giving it as much care and thought as if he was speaking to a crowd of the elite because that his how he perceives the people who come. He and his staff treat all the people they serve as "elite" and they obviously feel respected. I was amazed and awed by what I saw!!
Review from Guidestar
I had heard of Operation Nightwatch (ONW) when I first was called as Priest-in-charge of a Downtown Episcopal Parish in Portland. Members of our community have been making sandwiches every Wednesday to give them to Operation Nightwatch for their hospitality center guests. Just a few months ago, this fine organization had the rug pulled out from under them when the space they had be renting for their ministry was discontinued. St. Stephen's has always had a connection with ministry to those in our city who find themselves without a roof over their heads. ONW was offered office and hospitality space in our facility and it has been a wonderful experince of us; and I hope for them. Our building is bustleing with a ministry of hospitality and the good news of God's presence in all of our lives when we do what God has asked us to do; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and provide shelter to those without. I am deeply impressed with the folks who run this organization as well as those who serve as volunteers and those who come looking for a hand of friendship in an otherwise friendless world. Well Done ONW!