For some participants on the trip, they weren’t sure what they were supposed to have gained from their day in Santa Monica. Others felt that the day gave them a better understanding of the homeless situation in LA and was an eye-opening experience. Some acknowledged that they had done some good but were left feeling that they hadn’t done enough to help. To be fair though, at the beginning of our day with Santa Monica’s Officer Holloway when we were simply taking a tour of the police station and talking in their squad room, I was worried this day would fail to leave a clear and tangible imprint on me or the participants on the trip. However, after we left the police station and began walking through Santa Monica and interacting with some of the homeless people on the street, I was able to watch each of the participants make an impactSub on those they encountered. Simply by acknowledging their presence and by stopping to say hi and talk to them about their stories, the participants were able to feel they made a imprint on who they interacted with and they were visibly effected and influenced by the interaction as well.
The participants had mixed feelings about our day in Santa Monica, but whether they know it or not, whether they consciously or subconsciously made the connections I did, I believe they gained a valuable experience, and just as importantly, made a difference.
~ Ariel attends West Virginia University. She is a current Tel Yehudah staff member and comes from a long line of Judaeans. She attended AWB as a teen.