Friday, June 29, 2018

Mooooved! – Marty Moo

   I have been moved by my time here in Green Bay. As a native of Wisconsin, I never dreamed that people from Massachusetts would care to travel to my homeland to serve the poor with such passion. To say that I was moved is an understatement. All I can say is, “Thank You YNIA 2018” and keep the light of Christ burning brightly in your soul. Moooo!   


The God of Small Miracles – Deacon Chris

             I spent the better part of today helping to clean the entryway into St. Vincent de Paul here in Green Bay. It quickly became apparent that one of the major issues facing the site came from littering. It was my task to pick up cigarettes that had been extinguished outside the building. At first, I wondered to myself, “what greater purpose does this serve?” How could picking up trash help to forward the Kingdom of God? And then it came to me, God is the Lord of small miracles. Removing trash serves to restore the human dignity of the poor. They deserve to enter a store that is clean and well organized. They deserve to be welcomed as a valued customer and fellow human being -created in the image of God. Certainly, in the days to come more trash will accumulate at the store front, but for a brief period of time my hands were used to perform a miracle of God. The bag of trash became much more than a collection of refuse, it became an act of love for people I would never see or know. Our God is truly Lord of Small Miracles.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hi from Robbie F!

Hello everyone, my name is Robert F. This is my first year on a YNIA trip and it has already been an incredible learning experience for me. I am helping out at an organization called House of Hope which is in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The House of Hope is a group that helps women from the age of 18-21 that either are pregnant or have a child. Those 13 families there show a great amount of hope and positivity even though they have no support from anyone in their family, they are homeless, and jobless also. Being around these 13 families have changed my life and it’s a lesson I will carry with me forever, that lesson is to never give up even though it may seem as if the whole world is against you.
            At the House of Hope, we have helped the 13 families with daily chores and other takes that could take them a week or a few weeks even. Today I helped fix two peoples beds and I don’t think there is any better reward knowing that you helped someone with something that may seem as a big task for them but was an easy task for us. My group also did some gardening for a new building the House of Hope purchased that will fit around 15-20 new families.

            This trip, in general, has been astounding. I have bonded with my YNIA group so much and I had the chance to meet and bond with a YNIA group from Indiana. In the end this trip has taught me so many lessons that I will carry with myself forever.

Hi from Hannah M!

            Hello, my name is Hannah M. I am 16 years old and I am an incoming junior at BVT. This is my second year participating in YNIA, and this year I am spending my week at the New Community Shelter. The New Community Shelter is a homeless shelter for (homeless) people looking to put in an effort and change their life for the better. The New Community Shelter provides classes, such as computer classes and financial classes, to help residents makes their desired changes. This week, my group and I have been working outside; we have been planting vegetable so that the residents and community members can have fresh veggies for meals, and we have also been planting flowers to make the New Community Shelter’s grounds more presentable. My group and I have met many residents and previous residents who have all told us their story. Hearing these stories from the residents has really changed my perspective on the homeless population. Originally, I thought the homeless were people who have given up and didn’t make an effort in their lives, but this week I have learned that everyone’s story is different and that one decision can drastically change a life. While spending time in Green Bay, I have also learned that I strongly dislike cheese curds and that the people here don’t really like the Patriots very much.

Hi from Christian V.

Hi. My name is Christian V. This is my third year on YNIA and it’s been such an awesome experience so far. This week I’m working at an organization called New Community Shelter. The mission of the shelter is to provide housing and aid to homeless members of the community in Green Bay. They have classes and programs set to aid those in need and teach them valuable life skills which they may not possess. This includes things as basic as doing one’s taxes and things as complex as applying for jobs. The work here has proven to be profoundly beneficial for those in the community struggling with homelessness. The success stories I’ve heard while working at this site are amazing and awe-inspiring.
One of these success stories is a woman named Rory. After surviving intense trauma, Rory spent a large part of her life running away from her problems. In these years of running, she became ensnared by a life of struggle, substance abuse, and incarceration. One of her main issues that everywhere she turned the issues she faced were criminalized. Instead of receiving help for her mental health issues or drug related problems, institutions looked past her humanity. They saw her as a criminal, a mental health statistic, or someone who just had to many problems to help. New Community Center saw her as a person. They helped her get back on her feet, and she now lives a stable life and volunteers frequently at the shelter. One point she made that stuck with me though was how afraid she was to walk through the doors of the shelter. Entering a shelter takes courage. So often only the negatives of homelessness are shown, and the humanity of these people is left behind. People like Rory are immensely courageous in facing their own traumas boldly defy the stereotypes of homelessness.            
People such as Rory and organizations like New Community Shelter are intensely inspiring, and show the true nature of things that we as a collective society so often brush aside. Seeing a homeless person on the street, we may look away, or think, “Oh if I give them money all they’ll do is squander it on drugs.” That line of thinking is harmful. Homeless people are people. Not a stereotype, not a statistic, not anything else but living and breathing people, all with their own problems and their own stories. I’m sure there are many more people like Rory out in this world, and they give me hope.