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Reflections of a Volunteer Corps member

“I’m in a volunteer corps.” That statement will get you lots of things and get you lots of places. People will give you rides, offer to buy you drinks, or food, and at a party you always get sent home with the leftovers.

It also means that at your placement, you are temporary. This can mean that people are hesitant to get to know you because they know that before long your year of service will be done and you will be leaving.

Working at Bread for the City though, it means something completely different. Being placed at Bread means that for one year, you gain an amazing loving, supportive, and embracing family. Despite the fact that everyone knew when I started that I was going to be here for just a year, they welcomed me. They got to know me, they helped me, and they taught me.

During my year at Bread for the City, I learned so much from all of my co-workers. I learned patience, kindness, gentleness, budgeting, and bill paying. I have begun to learn about racial equity and more that cannot be put into words. I have also learned to give so much more than I thought I was ever capable of. I have been challenged to grow and have been supported every step of the way.

Kristina HeerenAs an organization, Bread for the City has a unique way of supporting its staff and making sure that we have the training needed to do our work. From the comprehensive, organization-wide new staff orientation that happens every year, to the trainings staff are required to attend, and the trainings each department asks its staff to attend — when you start working at Bread for the City they will make sure that you have every tool you need to succeed at your job.

BFC is also unique in the way we treat our clients. We are taught from the first day on the job to treat everyone with the dignity and respect all people deserve. We are not to look down on our clients or pity them. We are to help them to the best of our abilities and treat them like we would a co-worker or a colleague. I find this approach so refreshing and inspiring. Many non-profits who work with the under-privileged of a community tend to have an air of pity or sorrow. But at Bread, there is no sorrow and there is no pity. I find this so inspiring because I feel that people should be treated with dignity and respect and that is exactly how they are treated when they walk through the doors of Bread for the City.

I am sad to say that my year of service is over, and my time at Bread for the City is over for now. But working here was such a blessing and I cannot imagine having been placed anywhere else. Bread for the City really is one big family and I am so happy that I got to be a part of it!

Thank you to everyone who made me feel welcome and who helped me learn and grow throughout this year!

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