(aka) Catholic Volunteer Network
5148 Massachusetts Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20816-2740
I have begun to see my volunteer work with the at-risk youth of Chicago as a way to extend hope into the lives of young people.
I was powerfully taught this lesson in a humbling conversation with a youth one evening. This young man is at our Home because of an abusive father and a terminally ill mother. As we ate dinner in the cafeteria, I had asked him how his day was going. He replied that he was having a great day so far.
And, he continued,
I realized that I found something that I've been looking for a long time. Curious, I inquired as to what he had found, expecting a response focused on video games, lost homework, his favorite book, or some similar concern of an average 13-year-old boy.
His answer left me speechless.
No, he said matter-of-factly.
I've finally found a father figure in my life - and it's you. You're like a dad to me.
I was stunned and humbled. And that instant crystallized what is so important about sharing ourselves with others.
Through my volunteer experience, I am blessed to be a witness to this miracle of hope on a daily basis. Although we certainly have our share of difficult and seemingly hopeless days in program, I am still privileged to hold the candle that is a light for this young man amidst his troubling circumstances.