Wednesday, September 10

Summer Season

I am not going to even start to explain my long absence... I had a CRAZY SUMMER SEASON working at a mission outreach retreat center. But I am back in action in the world of blog writing. 

This summer Hinton Center hosted 1,200 volunteers who worked within our community, helping local homeowners with different home repairs/projects. Teams built ramps, and decks. They repaired sub-flooring. Some installed vinyl flooring as well as new doors and windows. Others scraped and painted houses, ramps, and living rooms. Yet, I believe encouraging and uplifting the local community members is the biggest achievement of the summer.

I first encountered Mindy at our weekly Thursday night dinner on Hinton Hill as she requested to talk on the microphone in front of 150 people . Each Thursday the teams invited the homeowners to partake in a celebratory meal with us. Before eating teams share about their experiences and what work they accomplished during the week. According to my colleague, when the volunteers first arrived to Mindy's house she acted very shy and hesitant in regards to the presence of visitors at her home. The team began painting the outside of Mindy's house the first day, but decided to leave early to allow time for Mindy to adjust to the new visitors. Mindy lost her husband a few years ago and ever since has somewhat lived the life a hermit and one might say as someone who hoards a bunch of stuff. The volunteers and Mindy slowly began to bond. Mindy began to open up emotionally and to open up her house to the team members. She even allowed one volunteer to help sort and donate a good amount of her things. Fast forward to Thursday night of that week and there stood Cindy in front of all of those people, holding a microphone. Similar to when the volunteers first entered her home, she hesitated. She stood almost frozen with eyes glued to her. Then, the words of gratitude poured out. She explained to all of us how the volunteers had truly changed her life and helped her realize she was living a life of solitude. They helped her escape the overwhelming feelings associated with her living situation. We are now working with Mindy so that she can volunteer with us and also give back to someone in the community.

Stories like Cindy's represent the true accomplishments our volunteers and staff achieved this summer. Her story can also remind us all of the importance of embracing community, allowing our communities to help restore, encourage, and motivate each of us.

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