At the heart of the Christ House staff and community is the volunteer corps.
Every June, several eager individuals commit to moving their lives to Washington, DC to live and serve alongside one of society’s most vulnerable populations.
Upholding Christ House’s mission, the Year Long Volunteers (YLVs) support clinical staff as they work together to provide care to patients experiencing homelessness and walk with them along their journey to recovery and healing.
“I think we’re all just looking for moments and spaces
where the light can get through.” – Makayla
By definition, the YLVs pledged to serve as respite care assistants, nurse, case management assistant, and clinical unit assistant, however they enthusiastically step into many different roles on a daily basis.
Over the past year, Hayley, Olivia Cassie, Andrei, and Makayla have served Christ House as party planners, grocery shoppers, artists, chauffeurs, decorators, escorts, cleaners, origami masters, and self- acclaimed “diabetic friendly” bakers. Olivia finds the work to “come naturally and with a smile; you don’t sign up to be a full-time volunteer if you’re not wholeheartedly committed to the well-being of those you serve.”
As the clinical and administrative staff restructure patient care in alignment with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the YLVs face a dilemma that many are familiar with in the midst of COVID-19; how do we continue to serve our community while adhering to the new safety regulations?
As many of those guidelines have conflicted with the routine responsibilities of the YLVs, they are once again tasked with creating unique ways to fulfill the needs of their community.
One simple way that Makayla feels called to spread love without spreading the virus is to use chalk. Many neighbors can be seen touring the local sidewalks in search of her messages of hope.
Commenting on the inspiration for her designs she says, “I write what I need to hear and what I think others need to be reminded of. I think we’re all just looking for moments and spaces where the light can get through.”
If you’re looking for ways to spread hope and love in your community, Cassie suggests reaching out to isolated neighbors, friends, and family: “Staying connected has the ability to boost your emotional well-being. It is important to remind your loved ones that they are supported.”
Whether you’re spreading messages of love through phone calls, chalk, or letters; supporting small business by shopping locally; or doing your part by keeping socially distant, the Christ House YLVs remind us that even if we’re physically apart we’re all in this together.