A Little Help Goes a Long Way

“We should help out and treat people how we want to be treated.”

With a smile on his face, Samuel describes his apartment in one word–quiet. It might not sound very exciting. But after 2 years of living on the streets, it’s that quiet and the peace that comes with it that he most appreciates.

Samuel moved from Our Saviour’s Emergency Shelter into his own place in Permanent Supportive Housing in November 2013. With time and stability, he’s been reconnecting with who he was before he became homeless. Since a friend at his church gifted him with a guitar, he has been refreshing his skills and even composing his own material. He also occasionally plays with the church choir.

Aside from music, Samuel has found new purpose and energy through volunteering. He’s become the “go-to person” around OSH. From hauling boxes on move-in day to helping new residents navigate the bus system, Samuel is ready to assist in whatever way he can. When disabled residents need financial support to pay their rent, he’s even willing to perform odd jobs–like cutting the grass–to earn funds on their behalf.

Beyond the Our Saviour’s community, Samuel also volunteers at a local food shelf agency that feeds people in need and provides food for chemical dependency treatment centers.

Why does he volunteer? For Samuel, the answer is simple. Inspired by his Christian values and beliefs, he says, “We should help our brethren and treat people how we want to be treated.” Samuel also remembers when he was the one needing support, when even small acts of kindness and generosity made a huge difference. Because of his experience, he’s able to serve others with empathy.

Moving forward, Samuel hopes to keep his housing with no violations and maintain a spotless apartment. He plans to continue regular meetings with his case manager and get his finances in order. And, of course, will still make plenty of time to volunteer and make a difference in his community.