Aside from my weekend routine of dog parks, yoga, and a cappuccino addiction, I really only have one interesting thing to share from this weekend.
A few months ago I read about an organization called The Stewpot. They were featured in an article by the Dallas Observer showcasing their art show they recently had at the Dallas Library. The Stewpot is an organization dedicated to helping the Dallas homeless get back on their feet, and art classes are just part of that. What was so beautiful about this art show was the unexpected (or should it be expected?) talent among the group. The Dallas Observer blogger, Betsy Lewis, described her reaction to one artist in particular’s wall of art work, Charles Williams:
Then I arrived at a wall full of work by an artist named Charles William
I kept saying, out loud, to no one in the room, “holy shit” and “Jesus” and, again, “holy shit.” I even wrote down “holy shit” in case I might forget it later. I know nothing about this person but I know he has mastered, MASTERED, Cubism.
As an obsessor of all that is creativity, this obviously caught my attention. I read on to discover that The Stewpot offers services such as helping individuals apply for social security checks, obtain birth certificates, and overall guidance to help acclimate their ‘clients’ to a new job and living on their own.
Around the same time I stumbled across the article, I had been feeling pretty selfish. My mind constantly revolves around where I’ll go next in my career, how I am going to afford Europe in a few months, and where the next coffee shop is opening up in Dallas. Me, me, me, me. I used to enjoy this. As a single 20 something, this is the time in my life I am allowed to be pretty selfish. But I wasn’t sure if I was giving proper thanks to where I was and what I had. If I was always looking to what’s next, how am I supposed to make sure I am appreciative of the today?
All that to say I was compelled to sign up to volunteer. Unforunately, apparantly everyone has these same thoughts around the holiday season so they were pretty booked for weekends through January. So I had to book pretty far in advance, but finally the weekend arrived!
Initially, I was kinda freaked. When I got there there were a bunch of ‘clients’ walking around and I had no idea where I was going and it was still dark outside. I couldn’t help but entertain the idea of getting back in my car to my warm, cozy and inviting bed. Luckily a fellow lost volunteer found me and together we navigated the unfamiliar “bad part of Dallas” to find where we were supposed to be. After a brief orientation, I was assigned the task of walking around and filling up water cups with a pitcher. Frankly, I was nervous. I don’t think this is unusual. I had no idea what types of personalities I was about to encounter. Plus, I was nervous I would spill the water – waitressing was never exactly my forté.
In the end, I had a great time. While walking around filling water, I chatted with many of the clients and found so many of them to be warm, kind and genuinely good people. The volunteers were no different. They were engaging, fun, and again, genuinely good people. The place where the meals were served was called “The Bridge.” It felt like a campus. They had one huge hall for sleeping, a library, computer lab, showers and lockers. In my opinion, by Stewpot respecting and keeping “The Bridge” clean, their clients have equal respect for the place they call home and those that make it possible.
The best thing that Stewpot is able to provide this group is a feeling of community and safety. The provide it, and they do a great job.
For more information on Stewpot and how you can get involved, check out TheStewpot.org.