Alternative Winter Break There’s Always More to Learn

By Sharon Schoenfeld
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Skye Preparing a Meal and PATH – People Assisting the Homeless

I have been to PATH before, so going back felt familiar, and I was definitely ready to get there and start talking with people. Today reminded me that no matter how much I try to learn about homelessness, there is always more to learn. I have heard many stories from homeless people about why they are in their situation, but today I met a veteran from Vietnam, who cried when he told us his story. He told us about his service to our country, and how he owned his own small business. He even hinted about a past marriage, generously opening up to teenage strangers. With so much talk about veteran aid in politics, it’s hard to believe there still hasn’t been a successful solution.

Some people are uncomfortable talking to homeless people, but after three years of AWB, it feels normal. The man we met had a very quiet voice, and he had out complete attention with every word he muttered. It was so easy to have a conversation with him, and as he dabbed his tears, my friends and I glanced at each other with sad eyes. Seeing how happy the people at PATH and the people working at PATH were, reinforced my desire to work in social service. Every year with AWB I am reminded to “sustain the change” and every friendly stranger I have met teaches me something new about how to do that.

~ Skye Maisel – 11th Grade – New City, NY

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