Community Engagement Reflection | Elena Litster
In grade 10 last year, I was actively involved in the Chiku service group at school. The Chiku service group aims to support the lives of the homeless in our local area through the 4 ways of service; advocacy, indirect, direct & research. Furthermore, the Chiku service group visits the Chiku homeless center located near Ishikawachō station every couple of months to provide warm food for the homeless, which the Chiku center does every Friday. Being aware of the issues that the homeless in our local area face and interacting directly with the homeless was an eyeopening experience that I didn’t expect to be as impacting as it was for me.
Firstly, my perception of the homeless changed in various ways. To be honest, because of stereotypes and etc, I didn’t know how everyone was going to behave and respond to all of us. So, the first time going to the Chiku center, I was a little nervous but also extremely curious and keen on expanding my knowledge on homeless ness. By the end, I learned that they are extremely respectful and seeing how thankful each individual seemed when we provided them with food touched me. Visibly being able to witness the change that I could make on someones life with something as simple as food for me, made not want to take the conveniences that I’m lucky to have for granted. Also, I was able to talk to a few of the homeless and listen to their life stories. As a society, I feel as if we have a tendency to dehumanize the homeless but as I experienced this, I was able to imagine their lives before becoming homeless which was a very bittersweet feeling. Listening to their stories and made me see the homeless in a different light.
I believe everyone should experience interacting with the homeless directly as it will most definitely open up your mind in unexpected ways, making a positive impact on your life and others.