Sitting on the beach, playing in the sand and enjoying my friends company is what I did on my winter break. ~SIKEEEE~ I went to Washington, D.C. with The College of Saint Rose. I knew that I wanted to make an impact during my break. Trust me, the beach and warm weather I would have loved to have done, but there was a calling for me to serve people who are in need.
So, on January 5, 2012 myself and 23 other staff and students embarked on a LONG but eventful car ride to DC. Throughout my trip the days were long, starting from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (did you see that I wrote 6 a.m? Yes, that’s the departure time). I went to different establishments such as DCCK, Food & Friends, SOME( So Others Might Eat), and Charlie’s Place. Each place has something unique that they provide to people who are in need. What each place has in common is providing a smile, time and energy that can last a lifetime.
While we were in DC we were also fortunate enough to learn the history. Did you know D.C. is also known as the Chocolate City? Well the businesses, streets, monuments, and buildings all have a story to tell. We also took part in learning the political side of Washington. We went to seminars, heard stories of past homeless individuals, and even met with our very own congress representative.
On the trip I learned of SHOCKING statistics of our current economy, such as:
- 4-6x more animal shelters than homeless shelters
- 44% of people who are homeless have jobs (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
- 42% of the homless are African American (US Conference of Mayors)
- 41% of the homeless are single men (Us Conference of Mayors)
After hearing the stories of beautiful, beautiful people of DC I wrote this poem:
When will the light shine through the darkness? When will the light shine on people who feel lifeless?
Why do people feel they look so different from us? When they are the individuals who cry, smile, become excited and get enraged like us.
These people who we think are so distant and have caused their life pain. Are, once were, and continue to be a mother, father, sisters, brothers, cousins shouldn’t they be treated the same?
Respect, honesty, dignity did I say respect are what people deserve, but we always seem to neglect. So I, Me, You, She, He, We can all change that by shining a light on those who try, try, try to fight back.
DO something, do anything so you will be heard you have the right to stand, take action and fight for the ones that have worth.
When, When will the light shine through the darkness?
By Raven Short
My alternative winter break was an experience that I will forever carry in my heart. I bonded with staff, peer and faculty. If you ever get the chance to make a difference in someones life, DO IT!
Read more about the DC alternative break trip in this Saint Rose Chronicle article