One Summer day, in Houston, Texas, at age 11, I went to visit my family. The summer was so hot, every time I walked outside I broke out in sweats. I remember staying indoors the entire time I was there. I was just amazed at how hot even the breeze was. Well flash forward, on my way heading to the airport to go home, I stumbled on an image that have stuck with me til this day. There were so many homeless people under bridges, trying to cool down and escape the massive heat. I immediately felt hurt and sadden on the large amount of people that I saw. I didn't have any money and didn't know of a way to help them. I felt powerless and hoped that each person would get the help that they needed.
While home I started to think about it a lot. Don't get me wrong, where I'm from we have homeless people also, but at the time I couldn't tell they were homeless. I started to become aware though of the people and my surroundings. An idea came to mind, I was going to get a large van and ride around picking folks up from off the street. Then take them to my mansion like house where everyone would have a place to live, clothes would be waiting once they arrived, and plenty of food.
Once I became high school aged, I began to think deeper...each floor would have their own kitchen to cook individual food, I would help them to get back on their feet while they were living in the mansion like house, by providing resources for jobs, food stamps, own home, and mental help. They wouldn't have to leave the house until they were financially stabled, mentally healthy, and prepared. Now of course I wasn't thinking of the safety of just picking up random folks from the streets or the process of how long resources could take. I didn't take in account addictions that people might have and the fact that I wouldn't be able to hold down the fort all by myself. I didn't think of best methods of running the house, safety of everyone living in the house, keeping the house maintenance updated, paying the bills, and getting funding for the house.
None of that came to mind, none of that worried me. I was determined that I was going to have a house to provide shelter and have ample resources for people who seem to be forgotten, by society. I was going to have a large enough van to go out everyday to gather people up and I was going to help them so they could have a chance to live life without worrying about their basic needs. That idea, of loving people that I knew nothing about, lived in my mind and heart.
Well fast forward to 2013, in Baton Rouge, my City Year, volunteer service program was ending and I needed a next step. I wanted to live in New Orleans, so I started searching on Idealist.org. I read and searched many organizations on the site until I scrolled upon Hagar's House, a home for women and children. I read their mission, history, videos, and what they were looking for in a staff member and it just connected to me. I knew that this was the right move for me. It pulled on my heart strings so much that I didn't second guess it or had any doubts applying for the job. I applied and got it!
My City Year program ended May of 2013, but Hagar's House didn't start until September of 2013. What was I going to do in between that? I wasn't sure, but I knew that things would work out because Hagar's House was where I really needed to be. I went back on Idealist.org, and found a summer job which started June and ended in August. The summer job housed the summer coaches and after that ended, I was able to move into the First Grace Community. The First Grace Community is apart of the First Grace Methodist church, which is a sponsor of Hagar's House. So You know what, it all did work out. What's for me, will be for me and I strongly believe that. I was living by faith and so my next chapter, in my destiny, was created.
My job at Hagar's House is to first establish and keep a safe/ clean environment for women and women with children. To help find resources for any holistic health concern and jobs. We get clothes donations and we make sure residents each get a chance to look through them and find anything that they can fit or like. Hagar's House is built and ran like a house in some aspects. We also provide emotional support, some basic grocery needs, and we also have a little car (might be giving out on us at any minute) to help us run house errands. Yall, when I got the job I didn't even think about my middle school dream of helping the homeless, it didn't dawn on me until they asked in 2014 or 2015, to write in our yearly newsletter, about my experience. As I was reflecting, it almost brought tears to my eyes. I was so emotional on how the universe had worked.
When you put mental work, faith, and physical work into something, it can truly come to life. We just have to be patient but continue to do the work...mine came 13 years later (wow).