Arriving here was a bit of a shock, it wasn’t quite what I expected but none the less I have to make the most of it and just take the opportunity as it comes. I am volunteering in an adult mental health center in Brooklyn . Although mental health is an aspect of life and the mind that I have always found a little scary, I didn’t want to chicken out of this but rather let it take me on a journey and different understanding of these particular people.
It’s Wednesday and I have only been here a few days but I can already tell that this is going to be an eye opening experience and one that I will be sure to never forget. The center is small and open plan; therefore, you really get stuck into anything and everything.
You look at these people and see that they aren’t harmless or here to cause us any trouble but merely just like any other human being. I always “feared” being around these people as I didn’t know what to expect and was unsure of how to ‘treat’ them… I see now and will without a doubt learn how this can be done and dealt with.
The center welcomes all their members with open arms and it really is inspiring to see so many members turn up everyday, you’re sure to meet a different mix of people everyday, from all walks of life… You wonder what brings them here. Deep down you feel a great sadness for these people and why they have had to end up like this? The members vary in ages and it’s eye opening to see that so many of these people have so much potential yet there is one thing that will stop them all the time… at times, they may not even be aware or be able to understand why or how. You know when you walk into the center that everyone around you will have something in common.
Although deep down it hurts to see people like this, you can’t help but smile at them all, say a simple ‘morning’ as they walk past you or give them a high five when you cross them in the lift. All the members here genuinely care for each other and that is so special, you can tell that they like this place and have their own sort of family here.
Saying that a few days in may seem a little unrealistic but that’s what I have picked up so far and I feel that is what makes this place so special. I know that I will be able to learn so much from being here and will get to know many of the members very well; which will for sure have its positives as well as its negatives.
At first I felt disappointed to be here, around people I originally ‘feared’ but I believe that I may have ended up here for a reason and that I will be able to gain life long skills and qualities as well learn so much from these incredible people, more than I already thought I would on this trip.
This will undoubtedly be an experience I will never forget…