These Moments of Humanity

by Val Green, Walk-In Center’s Epworth Summer Intern

When I arrived at GLIDE at 6:30 a.m. last Wednesday, the building was already alive with chatting, laughing, shouting. It was my first day making shelter reservations entirely alone, and I was nervous. What if there were no beds? What if I had to turn people away? What if clients got frustrated with me? The night before, I asked my co-worker Jasmine to sleep with her phone turned on in case I needed her for information or help with the reservation database. When I arrived at the Walk-In Center Wednesday morning, I placed a Post-It with her contact information next to the phone and plopped down at the desk.

Just five minutes after I began making reservations, I was finished because there were no more beds available, and I realized I had nothing to worry about. The morning was calm. And as I sat in the Walk-In Center with Jerome, the security monitor, a couple of remarkable things happened.

A regular case management client walked in around 8:00 a.m. and looked around the room for Ana, his case manager. Though I have learned bits about his story throughout my internship, I have never directly worked with him. I told him that Ana would be in later on and I suggested he come back in an hour. For my first four weeks in the Walk-In Center, he ignored me when he came for meetings with Ana. Last week, he called me, “Whatever-Your-Name-Is” and dismissively waved his hand at me. But that morning, he greeted me with a smile and said, “Hi, Val.” Then he left.

Ten minutes later, another familiar client dashed in asking for Angela, who normally makes the morning shelter reservations. I apologized and explained that Angela was on vacation, and asked, “Is there anything I can help you with this morning?” He ran out. About a minute later, he came back into the Walk-In Center and stood at my desk. He looked me straight in the eyes and he said, “No, thank you, I am okay.” Then he left.

I worked with a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

As I finish my nine-week internship at GLIDE, I do not feel ready to leave. I have finally learned the ropes here—I have a group of clients I frequently work with, I feel I am becoming a part of the Walk-In Center’s tight-knit team, and I am finally developing a handle on the unique sense of community and core values here. I will miss San Francisco, the Tenderloin, GLIDE, my friends and co-workers, and the wonderful clients I have met.  But most of all, I will miss these moments of humanity. Although I never directly worked with the two men I described above, I watched as they fought for truth and love when they walked through the doors at GLIDE. Last Wednesday, I became a part of their fight.

You might be thinking that remembering someone’s name is not all that important or popping back in to say “no thanks” only takes a moment. But last Wednesday, those two clients both offered me an invitation to join them and to connect to them. Those interactions were the two biggest compliments I received all week.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

GLIDE Instagram
A Tenderloin rooftop becomes a child's obstacle course during playtime @glidefycc ❤️🤸🏽‍♂️ original photo credit: @alainmclaughlin #GLIDEkids #affordablechildcare #youthdevelopment Where in the world is @thevernonbush? At #GLIDEChurch, singing and dancing in the aisles is always part of the Celebration! .
.
#WokeUpBlessed #sundaycelebration #GLIDEensemble #gospelmusic #SundayMorning with the #GLIDEEnsemble & @thevernonbush! .
.
#WokeUpBlessed #gospelmusic #sundaycelebration #GLIDEChurch Artist Kate Haug talks about her #SummerOfLove poster series for SF's bus shelters--and one very hip poster in particular, featuring Janice Mirikitani & Rev. Cecil Williams! Read more about her project:
.
glidesf.wordpress.com/2017/07/07/bus-stop-in-the-name-of-love/
.
#SFhistory #groovy #JoanBaez #BobbySeale
.
@tenderloinmuseum @sf_arts_commission @californiahistoricalsociety @ybca @deyoungmuseum
.
Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, Summer of Love Trading Cards
Kate Haug/Ivan Urania 2017
Original Photo: The Glide Foundation

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 23,681 other followers

%d bloggers like this: