Friday night, I volunteered at a program called Operation Nightwatch. Here's the description but it's long so I bolded the key points for those of you who skim (shout out to the Skimmers!):
So from 6:30-11pm on Friday night, I played games and just hung out with a bunch of folks who are living in a parallel world of mine. And then I got into my little SUV and drove back to the suburbs where my warm and wonderful home was waiting for me. It was actually a really fun night. I met some very interesting people and I felt really good about my time there. And I am going back in a few weeks and then again a few weeks after that. It was a really great project and I'm very proud to be a part of it.
Operation Nightwatch is an ecumenical night ministry of friendship and community for the street population of downtown Portland. The Nightwatch Hospitality Center is a sanctuary for the lonely, mentally ill, homeless and impoverished in downtown Portland. Serving coffee, lemonade and sandwiches to up to 150 guests, we provide a comfortable atmosphere for guests to socialize, play games, develop friendships and for our volunteers to be able to reach out to people who are disenfranchised from others. Our Hospitality Center offers our guests a safe, warm place to go when nothing else is open, and know they can find a welcoming, respectful environment.
Whereas other agencies exist to provide services such as housing, food, and clothing to the homeless, low-income, and mentally ill, ONW’s unique vision is that these populations also suffer from simple social isolation. Our simple mission is to reach out to them, nurturing relationship. We welcome each person who comes to us, just as they are. No one is required to conform to any particular belief or faith practice in order to receive our services.
Saturday morning I had another volunteer event-one of the biggest of the year, and one of my favorites. Comcast Cares Day, where over 1500 Comcast employees volunteer on the same day in their communities, making a difference, doing good things.
My project had 130 people attend, including some bigwigs who flew out from Philly, and some local famous people. My team of 20 tackled the painting of the auditorium at the 90-yr old school. We painted this super pale (dirty) yellow auditorium 8-feet up on all walls with their school color, bright orange. We were all a bit leery at first of the super bright color, but it looked amazing after we finished! We were amazing!!
Comcast Cares Day was meant to end at 1:30, but (for the first time in as long as I can remember), I had to leave a little early because Andrew and I were invited as guests to go to the Portland Trailblazers basketball game - ahem, it's the PLAYOFFS!!!
Remember that little volunteer award we won a couple months ago? The award ceremony was sponsored by the Trailblazers and so they invited us to a game with some wonderful seats, which included an all-we-can-eat buffet (which we took full advantage of). They also wanted to do a PA announcement and flash some photos and then pan the camera to our wonderful seats so we could give a little wave. Exciting stuff! My friends son was at the game and got a picture of the jumbotron when it flashed one of our volunteer photos: