Finishing up my last week here at Austin Street is bittersweet. I feel privileged to have met so many interesting people, from the dedicated employees, to the selfless volunteers, to the guests themselves.

People like Laura and Doris, who manage the front intake desk several days a week, and whose only response to those irate guests are warm smiles and helping hands.

Volunteers like Jessica, who has been volunteering at the shelter for years, and due to that dedication has swayed her employer into offering all of the employees a weekly “volunteer day” if they so wish.

Amazing employees like Monica, who went from being a guest here at Austin Street many years ago to getting her Masters degree, to now being in charge of one of our most important women’s programs.

I also had the chance to speak with many guests over the past few months and to hear some of their stories. Like that of Anthony, on and off the streets for years and told me that Austin Street is by far his preferred shelter simply because of the caring people who work and volunteer here.

Being able to give back to the local community this summer has helped bring me closer to its citizens (both homeless and not) that so often get overlooked and I’m incredibly grateful for that opportunity.”