We are so very grateful for all you have done to help the Mission serve the community so well. This past year, we have seen the volunteer program shut down and limited in ways we could not have imagined before 2020. But because of what we experienced, I can honestly say we have never been more aware of the impact that volunteers have in serving at the Mission. You are the connectors that make the services personal and heartfelt. As I remember the many people that I’ve met in my position as the Volunteer Manager, what strikes me is how volunteers here at the Mission show incredible resilience and find ways to help others in difficult situations.
Often, it is the pain we personally experience in life that compels us to help others. It is in empathy that we create a community that cares. I have yet to meet a person that does not have a story to share of trails, trauma, or personal challenges that they have experienced. What sets a volunteer apart from others is that they take their experience and create a better world. The Mission is full of such stories every day.
There are so many but let me share with you a few stories that have touched me over the years. I think of the woman that came to the Mission as a child to receive services and now she brings her kids here to serve others in need. As a child she remembers that love and support she felt when her family came here.
Then there is the young man who, in his own words, “had everything.” He was required to volunteer for a class in college and when he came to the Mission, he stayed to serve for two years because he saw a community of people outside of his world of privilege, that touched his heart and opened his eyes to friends that come from different backgrounds. Now he knows the names and stories of folks in the homeless community. He was changed forever because of his time spent volunteering.
We also have people that serve community hours for minor violations. It has been a pleasure to meet some amazing folks that have been court-mandated to serve. I remember a woman that was so humbled by her shame and need for forgiveness that when she encountered friendship, acceptance, and godly love, her life changed. She served for several years at the reception desk answering the phone and conveying grace to others in need.
It has been an amazing blessing to meet so many people and to get to know the stories that motivate them to volunteer. At the Mission, friendships develop, and people become a part of something bigger and more wonderful than they had imagined. They see the impact of looking beyond themselves to those that need assistance, understanding, compassion, and services. The Frederick community is a better place because of you!
It has been my experience that volunteers come from all walks of life, but everyone that comes to volunteer has a story that now includes a chapter that has in some way impacted their life and for some, changed its trajectory. Volunteers don’t just change other people’s lives – many times it is their life that is changed for the better.
My parting word to all of you is that the impact you make is incredible. People feel valued, cared for, and loved because of your time and heart to serve. Your life becomes a part of a larger beacon of hope to those in need when you volunteer at the Frederick Rescue Mission, where we change lives now and for eternity!
With deep gratitude and affection,