I am currently doing a student placement with Helping Hands Street Mission, I was super excited to say the least. I was eager and ready to do whatever I could to help.
While in school I did learn a few things about myself that I knew I had to be aware of at all times in doing my job. So, within the first month I had met this young lady. She is addicted, works on the streets and is pregnant. I have slowly been able to have this young lady talk with me. She would come into the mission for clothing and a cup of tea. One afternoon I was standing outside the mission with another woman from the Mama’s group talking, I saw my young friend across standing on the street corner and I waved. She came stomping over looking ready for a fight. I invited her into the Mama’s group and she said she just needed to use the washroom.
We were finished with the group for that day so I went to see if my friend in then washroom was okay. I knocked on the door and she opened it while her head was in the sink. I asker her if she would like some help washing her hair and she said yes. Debbie who was with me was kind enough to stay longer so I could help my friend. I sat her down in our salon chair and used shampoo( not hand soap). As I was washing her hair it was quite clear she was going through withdrawal and my friend began crying. I asked her what was wrong and I assured her she could trust me. She said it felt nice to be touched. Well of course this was when my eyes welled up with tears. I had to remember that I needed to keep my emotions in check because I am no good to her otherwise. I sat her up and dried her hair while she continued to cry. I was able to get her to open about her baby and the help she needed for herself. She said it had been a long time since anyone has held her, so I gave her a hug and held her for a few minutes. Debbie and I gave her some food and drinks and of course lots of condoms. She was so thankful and said that when she first came over she was going to fight with the girl that I was talking to and she is glad that she didn’t and came inside the mission instead. I told her she was always welcome at the Mission and I am happy she didn’t fight because I would not have been able to talk with her.
She made me re think the things I thought I could not overlook without great difficulty. Each day there is a lesson to be learned and you never know who or what that may look like.
Written by Michelle, Volunteer at HHSM