When you imagine a homeless shelter, do you believe that the living standards are horrible or it’s less of a place? Well I was wrong, it was unbelievable the scenery that I have experienced in the field trip to The Friendship Center in New Britain. I was honored to meet the director of the Friendship Center, Ellen Perkins Simpson and a case manager Julian. Julian gave us a tour of what he does for work, a view of peoples homes, and the different units they work with.
To begin with, before I entered the building I really had a different aspect of how homeless shelter looks like. In all honestly, I was a little nervous. My thoughts of the homeless shelters was totally opposite of what I have seen. I visualized the shelters being really dirty and rooms really tiny. When Julian started the tour we meet Mr. Reggie. Mr. Reggie was a humble, respectable and generous person who allowed us to take a look around his apartment and tell us a little about his story. He even played the keyboard for us as we were on our way out. Mr. Reggie is a member of the program in the Friendship Center and was the first one on the list to get a place to live. As I started to walk in his apartment I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that Mr. Reggie was living in a beautiful and well stabled apartment. Mr. Reggie became homeless because of the use of alcohol.
Secondly, we visited Gary in his enormous apartment. Gary was also homeless and has been with the Friendship Center program for about a year. Gary graduated college with a Master’s degree and taught High school and College English for quit some time. He is now in the process of writing an autobiography about what his life was and what he had accomplished.
Lastly, we went the shelter down the road. Julian introduced us to Jennifer who worked and is familiar with that building. She gave us a quick run around the cafe and spoke to us about the ups an down of the shelter. I have learned in that one hour of the trip that everyone has a different story to why they end up in shelters. It made me value the things I have now, like a roof over my head. This experience was a big eye opener that people can start off strong in life and just lose it all in a heart beat like Gary. I’m grateful to have met Julian, Jennifer and Ellen. They have taught me a lot and totally changed my ways of viewing life.