We had our inaugural fundraiser for the St. Joseph Worker Program this past weekend. It was a great success, and I feel blessed to be apart of the “pioneer” group. As part of the fundraiser, each of the workers were asked to give a short speech about how the program has impacted us. Here is the speech I shared:
When I first arrived to LA ten months ago, I came here to change the world. Instead, I got the biggest surprise of my life. This program, LA, SJC, my clients, and the very people you see around me have transformed every single part of me. I still look back at the unsure girl who left behind everything familiar to chase her Californian Dreams, and think, you have no idea what you’re in for.
From almost day one, nothing went as planned. I sought this program because I had wanted to work in the medical field. However when that didn’t work out, I had no plan B. There was no second choice on my application. As luck, fate or God-incidences would have it, there was still one position open at the time. And this one position fulfilled all the criteria of exactly what I did not want to do while I was out here serving. But I had been granted a second chance and I decided I would make the best of it.
Thankfully, they decided to give me a chance. And I mean thankfully, because I never imagined a life where I would wake up in the morning excited to go to work. Yet every day I am thrilled by the prospects of what another day might bring. Another day where I get a small glimpse into people’s journeys and hopefully lighten some of their burdens. Another day where I am challenged to be a little more patient, a little more compassionate, a little more creative. This was the job I never knew I needed, until it found me.
And maybe, just maybe while I was becoming a stronger, more confident version of myself, I was able to help others in the process. I can only hope that I was able to mirror the selflessness I experienced, like the single mom of 3 teenagers who swallowed her pride & sought social services for the first time so her kids wouldn’t go hungry. My biggest desire was to instill hope, similar to that of one of our volunteers who never lost faith while she was homeless, and finally became housed 3 months ago. And I always want to offer my strength to those who need it, like another volunteer who unexpectedly passed away, but taught me countless lessons about standing up for those who have no voice and that we all have more strength than we know.
No this year was nothing like I had planned. It far exceeded every dream I could have ever created. I could have never imagined finding a job where I was able to watch my heart expand with compassion. No one could have ever imagined I would complete my first half-marathon. And I certainly never intended to change the world- beginning with me. Marianne Williamson said, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” This program has helped me uncover my own light, so that I can help others do the same.