MIM Spring 2020 Service Project: Ashley Diaz

Lotus House Volunteer Service

“Where hope blooms” is the motto for The Lotus House is an organization, it is a known shelter for women young or old. People who do not have family support and need that structure to help them push through the most challenging times in their lives, but do not have it are offered a place to rest at the Lotus House. Their mission is to end homelessness and provide women the tools they may need to be successful as well as become independent. The Lotus House offers women a chance to work at a shop called the Thrift Chic Boutique. Here they can work to sell clothes to improve their social and customer skills needed in the workforce. The proceeds go to paying their interns at the Lotus House. It is one of the many programs that develop the skills that women obtain while at the house. 

On March 11, 2020, the class took a trip to a women’s shelter called Lotus House, never having visited a women’s shelter before it was an eye-opening experience. The women who ran the day to day operations at the lotus center were graduates of the program and had seen the success that this journey offered. So long as the women took this opportunity and utilized the advice given to them, they would be sure to find that the support given to them would aid them in more ways than one. 

Individuals may not be aware of the extent that the organization’s staff, volunteers, and the women themselves had to undergo in order to reach their goal of independence. It is the reason that an essential tool for these organizations is the support that they get from people who have the means to help out and the right mindset. On this class day, we were tasked with different objectives. Some students were moving packages and other objects into a moving truck. Other students, such as myself, were in charge of sanitizing different rooms that often held the crowd of many of the women. The sanitation crew was split up into smaller groups and assigned rooms to clean. The salon was one of the places that I was put in with another classmate named Gabriela Lastra. Randomly, while we were chatting about the day’s tasks, a cat came into the salon, and it did not seem to belong to anyone, nor did anyone see it. It was a comical occurrence and sparked up even more conversation. After the salon, we moved to the bathroom, where we met up with the remainder of the cleaning crew, and it was interesting how the bathrooms were open to both men and women. 

Photo of the students who sanitized parts of the Lotus House taken by Gabriela Lastra.
Photo taken by Juliana Pereira of the two students who volunteered to help serve during lunchtime. Vivian Acosta (left) and Daniel Perez (right).

Towards the end of the day, it was lunchtime, and we observed more of the women and their children as they came in and waited in line for a nutritional meal. It consisted of corn soup, a fruitful and colorful salad, and finally, either a fish sandwich or a veggie burger. Two students volunteered for the task of serving food to people who waited in line and added that to their experience while at the Lotus House. When one learns new things about the organization and how they can make an impact, it motivates others to take action and get involved in their communities. Furthermore, after seeing first-hand what those actions can do for other people, it can make someone feel just as good as the person receiving help.

References:

“The Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique.” Lotus House Shelter, lotushouse.org/education/.

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