Sadly, this is the last day of my internship here at Friendship Place. I could go on and on about what an amazing experience it has been, but that would take forever. This internship has opened my eyes to the issue of homelessness among veterans and my understanding of homelessness has definitely changed since I have been here.
I first became interested in homelessness at an involvement fair at my school. I joined a club, and we came to DC for spring break to work with the homeless. That was my first real exposure to the issue, because I come from a small town where homelessness is hidden from view. Here in the city it is in plain sight. There are homeless people who spend their days on the streets with people constantly walking by.
I came to Friendship Place with a need to help people, but little to no knowledge about homelessness or even veterans. When I first got here people would ask me what I hoped to learn or gain from my internship and I didn’t really know what to say because I was a blank slate on the topic.
Since then I have been exposed to an incredible injustice that is happening in our country. I’m sure most would agree that shelter is a basic human need, and I believe it should be a right. Men and women who fight for our country and our freedom should not be denied basic needs like shelter. I have been here for ten weeks, but I think if I were here for ten years I still wouldn’t understand how we can let our veterans fall through the cracks like that. I have also seen the amazing efforts that are being put towards ending homelessness, and I can see that people are actively making a difference.
I have to go back to school now, but this internship has seriously made me think about what I want to do with my life after I graduate. I will never fully understand the struggles of homelessness, but I do feel a strong need to make a difference. I would like to work with a nonprofit organization after I graduate because I have seen the amazing things they can do for a community.
I would do this internship all over again; it has been one of the best summers of my life. I am proud to be able to say that I have worked with Friendship Place, and I hope that I have helped make a difference. Their Veterans First program helps so many veterans and their families access services they need. I would definitely encourage anyone else to get involved at Friendship Place; it has certainly been good for me.