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SGH -- Vignettes


Hope Springs

A gentleman came to me a week before Christmas.
He asked for my help to write a letter of apology to his boss.
We went into an office and sat down to talk and write.
He said "I need to say I am very sorry, I need to apologize."
"I don't write that well and I would like you to do it-so I can get my job back."
The story unfolded.
"I spent the days before going to my job sleeping on hot air grates outside".
"I was very dirty, tired, and had not eaten. I felt awful at work and very weak. I left."
"I was very dirty, tired, and had not eaten. I felt awful at work and very weak. I left."
"I really want to work. Please can you explain to him how I felt that day. I am taking my medications. I know how important they are."
I wrote.
I asked him if he would like to ready my letter. He answered, "I don't read that well- but I can do dry wall and anything else they ask me."
He was not clothed that well that day. He was wearing pants that were too small and could not be fastened around the waist. His socks were soaking wet and he was in need of work gloves ( any gloves).
I made a call to the Main Shelter.
'Could you type this on good paper for us?'
"Yes, of course, send him over with the original." was the reply from Marlene, who produced a typewritten letter, signed by the gentleman complete with envelope.
Another call to the Main Shelter advising he needed adequate, warm working clothes.
"We'll do our best for him." This - from Liz- who outfitted him with proper-fitting pants, gloves, boots, etc.
Once again: another person who understood and cared.
He arrived back at 230 Murray St. with his typewritten letter and outfitted for work.
He left.
He had many blocks to walk to hand deliver his letter. He hoped his employer understood.
I did too.
We all face obstacles day to day.
He confronted many every day.
Poverty
Isolation
Homelessness
Mental Illness
Lack of clothing
Inability to read/write adequately
And still he strove
  With dignity
  I wonder
  I marvel
  And never lose faith
  Like him
  And those
  Who surround him
  That day

Dee Stenburg (Team Leader) - Hope Recovery Shelter


The Barber of Shepherds

One of the most unique volunteers at the Shepherds of Good Hope Drop-in centre is a barber. Guy has been cutting up to 20 heads of hair free of charge every second Thursday morning for the past one and a half years.

Another dedicated volunteer, Sister Marilyn, had already been cutting hair for some time when the centre was located on Nelson St. She asked Guy to step in for her one week when she was unable to come. Sister Marilyn introduced Guy to the Shepherds, and afterwards they agreed to take turns cutting hair on alternate weeks. Thus, what began as helping a friend in need grew into a considerable commitment.

An extraordinarily energetic man, Guy worked for the Government for approximately 30 years. Determined to remain active after retirement, he immersed himself in his hobbies: furniture upholstery, barbering and wine-making. Three days a week he works in his shop.

Guy compares the barber's chair to a psychiatrist's chair. Throughout his years of barbering, he has been privy to many interesting tales. Since Guy is most content when he is around people, he is in his element as a barber. Unconcerned with the accumulation of material things, Guy has always felt an inner conviction to lend a helping hand to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to help themselves. Shepherds is lucky to have such a volunteer.
Alayne Crossman (Front Line Worker)
 
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