The following video is a short summary of the volunteer experience of one of our longest serving volunteers. Anelise Sabbag, who is a CalPoly Statistics professor, has been seving with us at least twice a month for the last four years.
To volunteer with Brothers & Mothers is to launch oneself into a season of relational challenge, self-discovery, and joyful growth in one's relationship with God and others. In seeking to connect oneself to the lives of the homeless is to become familiar not only with the pain and suffering of others, but also with ones own past trauma. This process of "becoming familiar" requires courage as well as the willingess to empathetically see people through the eyes of Jesus. But this is where we not only learn to increase our love for others, but to be more couragous in receiving the love of Jesus on own brokenness.
If this sounds a bit intimidating, don't worry, because Training, education, and serving at a sustainable pace is of primary value in the volunteer experience with us. This means that one is not left alone to process difficult experiences, or left to feel like a cog in the wheel of serving the homeless. And there is not just one place to serve in Brothers and Mothers - we are constantly expanding our involvement in the community, which means that we have multiple ways for one to become involved based on one's gifts and experience. Please take some time and review the rest of our section on volunteering in order to see if our organization is a good fit your your gifts, talents and season of life.
Here are the basic requriements for volunteering with us:
1) Be a mature Christian
2) Be regularly attending and comitted to a local church (You will be asked for a character reference from your pastor)
3) Be willing to serve with us twice a month for a year
4) Be willing to learn
* If you feel like you can say yes to these three points then please email the BroMo director (Andrew) Bromo4slo@gmail.com to get started with the application process. If you have any questions or need more clarity on anything having to do with volunteering please do not hesitate to email (Bromo4slo@gmail.com) or call 805 903 2510. Thank you!
In the desire to provide a bit more texture and context for those who are contemplating volunteering with us, please check out the following explainations of the Brothers and Mothers volunteer experience.
Recent Cal Poly Graduate, Business Major.
After Andre had served with Brothers and Mothers for about six months, I (Andrew) asked him to share with me some of the details on how his experience has been washing over him. The following segment is his beautiful answer.
Looking forward to serving together next quarter! Hope things are going well for you. I wrote about my experience with the homeless and serving with you below.
Homelessness is not just a problem in San Luis Obispo. It is a problem in every city. Everywhere I go, I still pass by those who have no place to go. It looks helpless for them and I think to myself, “Am I doing anything about it?” I never cared about the homeless as much as I do now that I have been saved. I see the value of every human and how much God loves not just me, but all of us. It’s similar to a lot of other problems I witness people go through. Depression, anxiety, or fear; a lot of it can be overcome but it is tough especially when there is not much support around you. I may never be in some of these people’s shoes to fully understand what they are going through, but I know God has given us the capability to help those in need. What prevented me from serving the homeless earlier was not having the awareness or the vision to begin. A lot of people do not realize how much the homeless do not have. Even though it is obvious they lack basic necessities, we fall into the mindset of thinking we are just one person, powerless to help them. That is not true at all, and I pray more of us would be able to see what impact we can have on the people around us. Jesus said that the widow who put in her two coins had put in more than anyone else had as she gave everything she had to live on. The homeless are people just like us, broken, ashamed of our past, and in need of healing.
When I first started serving with you, Andrew, I did not know how I was going to make a difference in these people’s lives. Most of them are at least twice my age, have been through five times the amount of life experiences, and have definitely lived more difficult lives than I ever will. I felt like I did not belong there, but God continued to call me to serve them. They would tell me how things were going in their lives and it usually was not a good week for them. Even though I could not relate to over half the things they would tell me, they liked me being there and I enjoyed spending time with them. Over time, I learned more about them as people, not a stereotype. They are neglected in many parts of their lives and end up feeling alone as if they have no support. We have the power to love them as Christ has loved us. First, we should understand and become aware of who they are so we can find the heart to care for them. It can be through monetary means or in other ways, but I think once we have that understanding, we can ask God how we can help them and He will provide for all of us. I hope to be able to share more about the homeless with my circle of friends to start these conversations so they can see that they are human just like us. I am praying for them in SLO and am thankful to be able to be a part of this team and care for them in the ways that we can.
Carol serves on our board as our treasurer as well as runs our womens support group at the shelter. She is my hero on so many levels. A few years ago I asked her to share her experience of what it was like to serve on a Friday night during our Jesus Coffee outreach at the shelter. Here is her response:
Andrew, John and I were at the Shelter last Friday night. We prayed together and then brought our "set up" in. Andrew suggested that he and John serve the coffee and hot chocolate and I should greet people or be the one to roam and be available for the clients. "Ok! Here we go Lord!" I think to myself. You see, it's a little more out of my comfort zone when I'm not serving coffee.
The Lord has been teaching me more about the Holy Spirit, so I see His leading in whole night. I was greeting the clients as they came in. There was one lady in line who reached out to me. Her name was Lucy. It was her first time there and asked if I worked there. I told her I volunteered with Jesus Coffee on Friday nights, but I might be able to help answer some questions. She was very anxious, so just being able to listen to her and give her some direction was very helpful. I put my hand on her shoulder, looked in her anxious eyes, and listened with love. I have found this helps bring a little peace in the midst of a very hard situation. She stood in line to be checked in and then sat down at one of the tables in the lounge area.
I noticed people were going in for dinner so I went to talk with Lucy to make sure she knew where the dining room was. She was very thankful I had found her again. She just needed to tell someone her story. Why she was there. What had caused her to leave a scary place, her home, and come to the shelter. I encouraged her that although very hard, she had done the right thing. Part of her nervousness was from not knowing if she was going to get a bed at the shelter. You see, for some new clients, they have to wait until 6:30 pm to see if they get a bed. If they don't get a bed, they have to leave the shelter by a certain time and they are on their own at 8:00 pm. No bus to take them anywhere. It's dark and cold.
I kept on going back to Lucy and each time she was so thankful for the attention. She said she used to go to church. I reminded her of God's faithfulness. That although her life is full of change, God does not change! He remains the same. He is good. He is love. He gives grace and mercy. He is our comforter.
She really wanted to go to a church. She shared how she hasn't gone in a long time and missed going. I told her the church times for Calvary SLO. This is a church she could walk to from the shelter.
Earlier in the day I had been blessed by a verse. Ps 9:9-10 "The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, oh Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for You." I usually don't bring bible verses with me to the shelter, but the Holy Spirit prompted me to write it down on a 3 x 5 card before I left home. After talking to Lucy I knew this verse was for her! Shortly after giving it to her she heard the announcement that she had a bed...at least for that night.
I've been praying that she would get to church and be welcomed with Jesus love.