I love The Center at Blessed Sacrament (formerly known as Social Services at Blessed Sacrament before the name change last week). Last Thursday we held a fundraiser for The Center where supporters from across Los Angeles gathered together to share stories, eat hors d’oeuvres, munch on brownies that I made in the ovens at the parish building earlier in the day, and write a check to the organization where I’m a proud member of the staff.
I’ve had the pleasure of leading a few groups since my last blog post and I’m still in the process of training to be a regular leader of the Morning Mindset group. Last Friday, I co-led a group titled Weekly Wrap Up where we circled the room and discussed our highs and lows of the week. Participants who are homeless exchanged information with recently housed individuals giving advice about finding housing and jobs and I even witnessed the birth of a new friendship between two participants who realized similarities and agreed to meet up outside of the Center to hang out!
This past week I also witnessed my first serious altercation at the workplace that resulted in two participants being suspended from the Center for the week because of a minor fight that took place in the building. Luckily, no one was hurt and I even had the chance to talk to a young woman, who I will call Daisy, who was somewhat involved in the event. Daisy is 23 and is staying occasionally on the streets or crashing at friends’ places. She does have a source of income and has mentioned a more permanent housing situation that seems promising. Daisy attends the women’s group and the art and imagination group, among others. Recently she’s received two tickets for sleeping on the sidewalks during the day while watching her friends’ belongings. I haven’t seen Daisy in over a week and I hope that means she’s been busy at work – regardless, prayers for this young woman would be much appreciated. The women that visit The Center at Blessed Sacrament are few and far between and those that are my age are almost non-existent. It has been exciting to see Daisy walk through our doors and I hope that I can touch her life in some way in the future and allow her touch mine as well.
In the past several weeks as a community we have gone on several adventures outside of our workweek! We have spent a weekend on an all-church retreat at Forest Home where we heard truth from Jim Edwards, spent an afternoon zip lining and rock wall climbing, and strengthened the relationships within our own house community. We’ve also attended a couple free comedy shows, a play titled The King of the Desert, were welcomed into several homes for dinners and desserts, and were part of a live audience for the Conan show. We may be living simply in the land of fame and fortune on our tight budget, but we are definitely afforded many opportunities by so many generous people in this community and beyond.