Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nations compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another. When kids volunteer it tells others that they don’t have to be perfect or famous or even grown up to make a difference. These are just a couple of quotes that spell out what the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter stands for. This program is a community based effort enabling member congregations to provide cold-weather shelter and hospitality on a rotating basis to persons who are homeless in the Davis community.
This years shelter started on the 27th of November and will run through 10 March 2012. There are seven congregations that participate with each church taking turns providing shelter during the coldest months of the year. The Davis Enterprise stopped by St. James Catholic Church on the week they were the host site and high schoolers were taking their turn running the shelter. They were a part of the Davis Community Church’s Youth Leadership Institute program. The goal of the program is to create awareness for students about poverty and homelessness through hands-on experience and education.
To prepare them for running the shelter, students received intensive training and education about homelessness during November classes with shelter staff. Youth Leadership Institute interns began working in the shelter while shadowing UC Davis interns from Nov. 27 to Dec. 11. UCD interns taught the high schoolers how to handle scenarios with guest, shelter schedule and managing paperwork. Cindy Chang, a shelter board member who supervises the interns, said youth are the answer to reshaping the community’s outlook on homelessness. “Youths are the people who are going to be the ones to lead the future and fight back against stereo-types.
The interns began running the shelter without The UCD staff Dec 12th and will continue until the university students return from their winter break. The high schoolers manage the shelter but are always accompanied by an adult volunteer for safety purposes. Rev. Bill Habicht associate pastor at Davis Community Church said “They’re beginning to realize that there is a difference between charity and justice”. This is a perfect example of adults learning from our youth. For more information about volunteering at the Interfaith Winter Shelter, visit www.interfaith-shelter.org