I had the chance to sit down with Sue, one of our volunteers who works both at the front desk of the HOPE Center and with our PADS Program. In addition to her work with JOURNEYS, she also volunteers with several other organizations, including a dog rescue, a meal delivery service in Wheeling Township, an organization that prepares and sends care packages to veterans, and Feed Our Starving Children.
We're so lucky to have Sue, whose charm, compassion, and sense of humor makes clients feel welcome and puts them at ease. Take a look at what she had to say!
"I was born in England and we moved to America when I was five. I went to Palatine High School, then I got my first house in Rolling Meadows where I had my kids. I have three sons. I worked for IDOT for 43 years and I retired in February of 2021. I started here in March, so I was retired for only one day before I started here!
JOURNEYS is definitely one of my favorite places to be. I love the clients, and I love getting to know them. The people here are so wonderful. Everybody at JOURNEYS is very kind and so appreciative, including the clients. It’s just such a pleasant place.
At the HOPE Center, I started in the clothing closet because I'm very shy. I know nobody believes me, but I am! It was fun to pick out outfits and items of clothing. But then I got kind of lonely because everybody was so nice, and I was by myself in the closet! Eventually I volunteered to work up at the front desk, because I realized that it would be so much more me, since I stopped being so shy around everyone, and there’s so much more interaction with clients.
I’ve also worked with JOURNEYS’ PADS Program. I'm new to PADS, but I enjoy the heck out of it. There’s one client I know well from working at the front desk of the HOPE Center. It was my first day working with PADS, and it was just the two of us standing there together, which felt sort of weird! But then she said, 'Well, but we're here, together.' I think it helped her that I was there, and it helped me that I knew she was a client that I knew well.
One night at PADS, I brought cards. Two clients and I were sitting building card houses because nobody could remember the rules to any games. They were telling me about their pasts before they began experiencing homelessness. It was so interesting to hear their life stories.
Eventually it was bedtime. There was a family, three men: two brothers and their nephew. I said that I was going to turn off the lights, so it’s time to get ready for bed. But all one of the men did was take off his socks and put on hospital socks and then said, 'I'm ready now. I’m gonna have a good night’s sleep tonight.' And I hoped he would."
-Arranged by Roxanne Gentry, Marketing Associate