May 11, 2015


by Nomi Small

Saying my goodbyes is an increasing phenomenon as the program nears its end. I want to share a few of these goodbyes here, to thank those who have impacted me these past few months.

 To Portland Homeless Family Solutions. Everyone from the volunteers to the staff to the guests have shown me how to find optimism when times get rough. That laughter is possible when times are dark. That change doesn’t have to come in tidal waves, sometimes it can just manifest as a listening ear. Sometimes it’s ok to ignore scary things with a childlike innocence, if it allows you to find the light in the darkness. So thank you for teaching me to be a better person and for showing me the silver lining when the chances of finding it are so bleak.

 To Habitat for Humanity. It is difficult to wake up in the morning to work in the cold an entire day just to move a chop saw, but sometimes that’s just the work that needs to be done. No one likes the tedious tiring work, especially when it’s inescapable, but if the work needs to get done, we may as well take turns and work together to fix the problem. Thank you for teaching me the value of the tedious little things that largely impact the whole.

 To Clackamas High School. In my time I have struggled in school. I have felt that I have been lowest in the class and on occasion I have taken my education for granted. Working one on one with students who are failing out of school, I realize how important helping each student is. Individualized attention that can motivate a student to reach their potential instead of dropping out is essential to help stop the cycles of poverty. Fine, we are not all destined for Harvard, but we are all entitled to reach our potential and to strive for higher education. Students should stop getting lost in the system. That’s how I realized that caring for those kids on the cusp of failure, giving them faith and having faith in them is how success is reached. Everyone can succeed.

Thank you to each of these places that has made me feel valued and helped me to understand the impact that I can have by just showing up.

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