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Review for Project Homeless Connect, San Francisco, CA, USA

Rating: 4 stars  

On the morning of February 11, 2009, I will not deny the apprehensiveness I felt at the prospect of having personal contact with the homeless population of San Francisco. I had never participated in any such type of events before and was not quite sure what to expect. However, at the end of our morning shift of checking clients in and escorting them to the free services offered, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the large number of services, available under one roof, impressive, but also I was struck with the thought that they were regular people. I was able to look beyond the clients’ less than meticulous physical appearance and realize their kindness and civilized manners. There are too many times when we dismiss them as lazy and possibly a little crazy to live the way they do, as if they had a choice in the matter. Being in close contact with them and having the opportunity to converse with them while filling out their paperwork, helped me appreciate this vulnerable population of our city much more than I ever have, and hence appreciate these great array of services offered to them. Although, there were plenty of basic need services, including health screenings, shelter services, and government agencies, what struck a chord the most with me were the booths that focused on holistic health services, such as acupuncture, complimentary massages, and haircuts. It projected an emphasis on self-care and highlighted the fact that although at this point they are not living the healthiest lifestyles, they also deserve to be pampered and feel good at least for a day. Despite its imperfection, I think the creation of this project is inspirational and does help a majority of them. A single clinic may be difficult to reach for homeless individuals with their limited resource and they also would not be able to reach the amount of services that they can at PHC, in one day. Nonetheless, I did think that it became a little chaotic with so many people filling up the booths to get the services near the end of the day, and it would be frustrating to go through that experience on a daily basis to get your health services as the general public. However, the concept of having everything at one place is something that does seem convenient on a superficial level. Volunteering experiences, like this one, should be something that everybody should go through, because it makes you appreciate the things that you take for granted and most of the time, do not even take advantage of.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting great people

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Role:  Volunteer & check in and registration.