New Year, Old Me

By Mick Silvers, Partnership Coordinator

It is a new year! Year two of living in Los Angeles. During this last month I have heard the familiar mantra “new year, new me” from countless people. Even clients at the mission have stated that this is the year they will recover from experiencing homelessness. While getting coffee with a friend, I was trying to explain this “New year aroma” on Skid Row. I was explaining to him how excited I was to see change happen on Skid Row and in my personal life. While my friend was happy to hear about all these changes, he asked me a question I was not prepared to answer. He asked me “What are you proud of?” and “What do you want to keep the same?” I did not have an answer at the moment because the last few weeks I had been so focused on what I needed to change.

This question stuck with me for the next couple weeks. I think this is such an important question to keep in mind. Wanting to change can only be healthy when we know what areas we want to keep the same, the areas we are strong. As I started to think of the areas I want to keep the same in 2019, I started to become so encouraged in what I do well. As I was writing this list, I thought this could be a great exercise to see how the Skid Row community has succeeded. So often, I only think about how this community needs to change, that I forget about how many incredible strengths they have. So, below are three examples form a long list I wrote on how I want Skid Row to stay the same.

  1. Resilience: Back in August I started doing case work for the Families Program at Union Rescue Mission. Now that I work one on one with clients, it is clear that this community hears the word “no” more than any other group of people. They are continuously turned down housing once the landlord hears where they are coming from, and consistently respond with  “we will try the next one”. It is so hard for many of the clients I work with to find a job because of the way they appear, but once again they push through and reply with “there must be a better job out there for me”. This community understands their self worth and will not take no for an answer.
  2. Acceptance over Agreement: This community is the best at accepting others wherever they are at- even  if they may not completely agree with how they choose to live their life. They understand and have taught me that if I want to see someone change for the better, I first have to meet and accept them where they are at. They understand that an individual does not have to agree with their life choices to accept them.
  3. Relationships: The community of Skid Row is the best at relationships. Since my first internship in 2015, this is something I have loved and admired about Skid Row. After my internship in 2015, it was two years until I returned in 2017. I was not definitely expecting people to remember who I was, but there were several individuals who remember not only who I was, but even specific conversations we had. They understand that the only thing everlasting on earth is people, and so they do everything they can to show God’s unconditional love to those around them.
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