I have participated in homeless runs three times, and each time they get better and better. It is not only the fact that you are doing something nice for someone else, but also the meaningful conversations you have with the different people you meet. These people are normally ignored by many with the excuse that looking at them may make them feel "bad". Through this experience I have learned that it is the contrary. While they are grateful for everyone's generosity, they are most grateful for a wave, a hello, or a conversation. Stopping and listening to their stories is amazing, a one of a kind experience. The first run was quite intimidating, as I was not confident in how I should approach anyone. But in the process I have learned to simply say "Hi, how was your day?"
During my three runs I have had the pleasure to meet Paul and Mr. McNeill - they both have unique stories. For example, Paul has already been featured in a few documentaries and has been on the street for over 32 years. The first time I met him he recited two poems to me. The next time I saw him he asked me to recite one for him. I did, but since I only know poems in Spanish, it was a Spanish poem. When we finished, each reciting one, he said that next time, thanks to his great memory, he would be able tell me this poem in a foreign language word for word. I am very excited to see him again. This is just one story from one run. There are so many we live every night and things I have learned about values, views and even the geography of China (a long story for another time).
~ Ana (SVP Student Volunteer)