Saturday, March 27, 2010

Serving the Poor

In an sincere effort to help and serve many that are have unfortunate circumstances, I decided volunteer at our local warming center in Pontiac, MI. Over the past year, our communities and workforce has been hit with many obstacles, trials, and obstructions that have effected us all. There is no doubt that there is a need for help and support on all levels. Even at a young age, I have been involved to make our community a better place to live. Recognition and involvement with community throughout my life was rooted through my family up-bringining, faith, and friends.

My visit to the warming center was very interesting. To begin with, it was actually a unseasonal very warm night in March. The warming center is only open during the colder months of the year, November to end of April. When we entered the warming center, the poor stood outside waiting to come into the center. We were to prepare for the opening of the center at 7 pm with food, shelter, beds, bathroom facilites, personal hygiene, and clothes. The center director and management was very welcoming and instructed us of the "Rules" of the center prior to begining operations. I had volunteered to hand out bedding materials for them.

As entered the bedding materials room, I was amazed by the number of bags with peoples names on them. Prior to heading to the center, I was told that they average 40 to 45 people per night. Well, to my suprise there were 3 times the amount of bags in the room. First, I thought we need to sort the bags in alphabetical order to handle the personal items more effectively. This was quite a chore to accomplish. My brother-in-law, Jamie, and I sorted out the bags as best as we could down the narrow hallway and into adjacent rooms. At the end of sorting, my hands felt very sore and itchy. They became very red and had white spots on them like I had been allergic to something I touched.

The warming center is one of the only centers that allows individuals to enter without being tested for alochol or drugs of any kind. The center is very strict on this policy with behavior actions and rules as well. When I was handling the sleeping materials to each person, I noticed that most all had taken advantage of the rules of the center. This I thought would be the case due to the condition and environment that is at hand.

Well, our priest came to the center and I was very happy to see him. His brother had passed away a few weeks earlier and he came to spend time at the center. This lesson did not come and go lightly with me. I have a brother and he is my best friend. The overall expression of endless love and caring definitely did not go unnoticed.

The overall serving community and lessons learned certainly is heathy for our well-being. I encourage all to get involved in community to enrich our lives.

Friday, March 5, 2010


As many obstacles encountered and overcome throughout the years, I truly have been blessed by many people in my lifetime. I recently was asked a question during an interview with a major global utility company, "During your life, if you could have "one" do-over, what would that be?" I thought WOW, what a great question. What would that one do-over be? It made me think about my past crossroads at that given moment. Yes, I thought about the many obstacles I've encountered, just by chance that I could have another stab at it to change the outcome in a positive way. Thoughts of the "how 'bout the time when..." ran across my mind at light speed. Then I had the realization that my life is filled with hills and valleys, even forks in the road. I am sure each one of us can think of some ourselves. I have been so fortunate to have the support of my family, faith, friends, and fellow collegues to be able to make solid decisions to overcome any "obstacle". I would not change any of them and truly believe that God is on my side to provide the loving support to overcome any challenge.

Many times, especially in today's age, it is so easy to forget those many people that have blessed me and provided support throughout my life. Also, I feel it is sometimes hard to take time to give back and provide support to others in need. I recently came across a quotation from Albert Einstein and posted it to LinkedIn, "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive." Many times I have come to realize how much my own life is built on the labors of my fellowmen, and how earnestly I must exert "love" myself in order to give in return as much or even more than I have received.

In a couple weeks, I will be spending time with the poor. Providing blankets, pillows, dinner, and the necessary items for basic hygene at a local warming center. I will truly embrace the time with my fellowmen. At times, I wonder about the many roads that they have been on throughout their life. What hills, valleys, trials and tribulations that have been encountered. How their lives have persevered and overcome such challenges. What support network do they each have? Finaly, what would their answer be to the "one" do-over that would make a difference in their life.