Reflective Observation Working at a Homeless Shelter

Reflective Observation Working at a Homeless Shelter

  1. What was observed during the Experience?

Recently, I happened to interact and work with the downtown homeless shelter for some time, and during the engagement, I observed several things. For instance, the homeless shelter hosts the women and their young children as well as other women without children. The shelter has literary been converted to a typical home with a kitchen, dormitories and everything that a home would have including playgrounds for the young ones in the backyard which provide the best home away from the streets. The home does not only accommodate the poor and the homeless, but it also provides food and medical care, clothing, schooling and sometimes employment opportunities to everyone within the home. The women and children eat together, do all the chores together as their children play or help in running errands. This notion makes the resident feel at home and like rational human beings. Observably, I noted that this particular home had an identified goal and objective towards providing home, love, stability, kindness, and fundamentally alleviate the level of suffering among the women and their innocent children.

  1. How Did the Experience Affect You?

Fundamentally, through this experience, I came to appreciate that everyone has a story to tell on how he ended up in the homeless shelter. My perception of judging others significantly changed from the short period I was at the shelter. As a Christian, it is thus vital to listen to someone’s story, try to understand it before concluding in a biased perspective. At the entrance of the hall at the homeless shelter, there was colossal signpost inscribed; “Better is a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.”- PROV 28:6” as a Christian, this message had a deeper meaning. It made me understand that poor people are more blessed that the rich people and as a result, rich people should endeavor to support and alleviate the lives of the poor people and the homeless in the society (Rogers, 2017). I also came to appreciate that indeed anyone else may be homeless and as a result, my perception towards the homeless and the poor changed and thus I vowed to help them rather than viewing or judging them as lesser beings before God.

In the same breath, I also came to appreciate and change my mentality about God’s existence. Despite the suffering, the women and young children finally found a place to call home, I understood that indeed God is a loving God, is merciful and saves humanity from suffering through other people. My perspective about being blessed and being poor changed after I realized that it is not a matter of choice but that God blesses humanity differently.

Notably, this experience also changed my perception of humanity and nature. After listening to the women at the downtown homeless shelter, I discovered as much as some of the factors that lead to them being homeless occurred naturally, I noted that other factors that cause human problem and suffering are caused by fellow humans (Rogers, 2017). Under the Christian worldview, the root cause of human problems is related to the aspects of being proud, selfish, and always sinning. They commit sins such as theft, adultery, and killing thus inflicting pain and suffering on others. From the visit, I learned that if we have to alleviate human suffering, then change will begin with myself on how I treat others before man and before God’s wish.

  1. What Are the Needs of the Group that You Interacted With for this Assignment?

Generally, after a short interaction with the women and the young children at the homeless shelter and after making an observation, I realized that despite the women and children finding a second home away from suffering in the street, they needed many things. Firstly apart from the basic needs such as clothing, food, and schooling which is provided at the shelter, it is evident that the women and the children need other stuff too. For instance, the population is in dire need of toiletries and other related hygienic materials such as sanitary towels, toothpaste and brushes, shampoos and soap, toilet papers, razors and even pampers for the babies. Extra clothing to keep away the cold seasons, socks for the children, extra undies and bras for the women is needed. Fundamentally, the population also needs cash which will be used to sustain them and access extra medical care when it arises, to generate more cash they need employment opportunities (Rogers, 2017). I also noted that. Despite these needs by the population, the shelter also requires a myriad of supplies to keep it running and sustained and lastly, the population will need my time, services and that of other individuals like me to volunteer and help them out as good Christians.

  1. How Can You Help Make A Difference With this Group?

The experienced with the homeless women at the shelter significantly impacted my perception about human suffering and thus to help their situation; I can offer to help in many ways. Firstly, I will volunteer my services, firstly by helping the women around, looking after their children, donating some of my clothes to the young ones and offering my knowledge to advice and counsel those depressed and give them hope in life. Additionally, I will also offer my services to act as a part-time teacher especially to the young ones. It is notable that such help positively impacts the lives of the homeless (Rogers, 2017). Summarily, I will also attempt to my level best to advocate, rally and urge my colleagues and able members of the community to step in and help the homeless women and children thus make a difference in their lives.



Rogers, L. E. (2017). “Helping the Helpless Help Themselves” How Volunteers and Employees Create a Moral Identity While Sustaining Symbolic Boundaries within a Homeless Shelter. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 46(2), 230-260.