Community outreach worker Dave comes to SVdP frequently to meet our guests and see how he can help them. Our center is open to all, and we welcome the great service that Dave does out of the goodness of his heart. He is a great light in our center and positively affects the lives of everyone he meets. Read below for his story.
“I do outreach work in West Oakland. My clients are homeless, addicts, survivors. I came here to find those people, because they don’t always want to find you. I’ve been coming to St. Vincent de Paul for five years. I eat in the dining room and socialize and connect with people that I can refer to services I know. I’ve lived at the same home for 22 years. I spent 27 years as a stock broker. When I retired, I looked into this community and saw a lot of grief and pain. I spoke to the executive director at St. Vincent at the time and she let me interact with the clients.
“I know the people in this community. I do a lot of work with West Oakland Health, so I refer people to them when I’m here. I’m from Jamaica. There, they teach you ‘you’re your brother’s keeper.’ In America, everyone is in it for the individual, not for the collective wellbeing. Mental health services are in a shortage around here. There are some brilliant talents in this center, but no one has ever encouraged them. No one has told them they love them. That is a shame.
“People fail to understand that when someone says they’re cold or hungry, that need is now; you can’t wait to act. I come back to St. Vincent de Paul to help human beings. I promised myself I’ll always do something for somebody. The reward comes when you look at another human and you know you’ve helped them.”