Views from a Volunteer: It Takes a Village

By Peju Ogunyemi, Jubilee Volunteer

I’m not sure what I want my second foray into writing for Jubilee to be about. I suppose I should let you know what keeps me here and what makes me want to expand my contribution into other avenues at Jubilee. It seems a little trite or cliché to say but it really is the people. Not just the women who live in the housing facility in particular or even all of the staff, although they are delightful, but more the idea of being part of the community that is working to positively impact the women who are experiencing homelessness and poverty. There are other volunteers that donate their time and efforts to this amazing organization and help to make it run smoothly.

There are more aspects to Jubilee than just the housing and clothing boutique. They are the people who donate clothing, hygiene, even food products, and people who sign up their offices or gather friends to host community meals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to teach sewing classes, Bible studies, computer classes and more. There are case managers who are not only there to help women transition into their own housing, schooling, and/or employment ventures but are also there for moral support and comradery. I have witnessed women super excited to talk to their care manager because they have an important development in their lives that they can’t wait to share.

Being a front desk volunteer, I am the first face of the organization and able to see who comes and goes in the house. I have the opportunity to get to know the women who live in the house if that is something they are open to. It could be because I am the one who lets them know if they have a package at the front desk or can help them to make copies. Or just saying hello or noticing a hair change. But it feels nice when they want to share those personal details of their lives with me as well. It’s fantastic to watch positive things occurring in the lives of the women living here, especially since they have encountered a lot of hardships that could wear and weigh anyone down, but they continue to be resilient and perseverant.

Community is the backbone of Jubilee and it’s exciting to be a part of it.