Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Low and Hatboro Horsham

June 23, 2017
Emily with our prep cook, Esh

This month’s individual volunteer spotlight is none other than Emily Low! After graduating from business school at the University of Chicago, Emily relocated to Philadelphia in January 2017 and began volunteering with us at the prompt of a friend. Since then, she has immersed herself in giving back to our guests through Breaking Bread, Mail, 315 Threadz, Personal Care, IDs, and even assisting with our annual guest surveys. She has generously donated her time and presence for more than 100 hours in just the past 5 months, and we could not be more grateful for her passion. “BSM is such a human-centered organization that volunteering here makes me feel like I’m having a true and lasting impact on the local community,” Emily explains. And we couldn’t agree more! Emily’s impact has been felt both by guests and staff as she radiates her joy and positivity to everyone she meets.
When asked what has impacted her most in the past few months, Emily recalled a particularly meaning moment while helping with guest surveys:
“I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about BSM’s guests one-on-one. I spoke with one guest about what she likes about coming to BSM, and what BSM could do better. She was so overcome with gratitude and love for the BSM community that it was overwhelming for me just to watch her light up with joy in sharing these stories. It reinforced the notion that everyone, myself included, has faced adverse circumstances at some point in their lives, and having supportive relationships and a positive, peaceful environment makes a huge difference.
In her spare time, Emily has been working on her cooking skills. She’s been watching new cooking shows and exploring different cuisines, sometimes inspired by the delicious meals during Breaking Bread! “During meals at BSM, I’m so impressed and inspired by the delicious-looking meals that the BSM kitchen put out that sometimes I’ll go home and try to (very poorly) recreate some version of the BSM dish of the day. It’s definitely not easy!”

Students from Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School have been working with BSM for 11 years. Each year, students of the Junior Class apply for a spot in the Partnership group, then undertake an interview with current members. A team is then selected by current members for the following year. They are the only club of its kind at Hatboro-Horsham. The group numbers 16 students, all dedicated to creating change and learning about others, as well as themselves.

Further- each year Partnership undertakes a clothing drive for the guests of BSM. It is a 2 month effort that the students and faculty take very seriously.

Here is a short writing from one of the students:

Helping out at Broad Street has given me a new perspective on the population living in poverty in the Philadelphia area. Interacting with people and hearing about their struggles reminds me how fortunate I am to have the life that I do. This experience is like nothing I have ever had before. Every time I leave, I leave with a new piece of wisdom that a guest has brought to my attention. There is so much that I have learned; most importantly we are more similar than we think. A lot of times I talked with guests, I found myself able to understand the emotions they were going through. In high school, so many of the community service events do not have a deep emotional impact on someone like Partnership does. Moving forward in life, I will be especially caring and understanding as I might not know what is going on in someone’s life.

We are so grateful every year to this wonderful group of High School students! Thank you for everything you do for BSM and our guests!

Volunteer 2017 Annual Survey Summary

Thank you to everyone who filled out the Annual Volunteer Survey this year! It was a great way for BSM to get to know our wonderful volunteers even better. Here are some highlights we’d like to share with you:

The top 3 ways volunteers have extended support for BSM include eating at Rooster Soup Co., donating clothing or personal care items, and attending BSM special events.

38% of our volunteers have been volunteering for over 2 years!

“Volunteering at BSM is my favorite day of the week!”

Volunteers report that what they love most about volunteering is the relationships they build with BSM guests and BSM staff.

“I am impacted by and appreciate the effects of radical hospitality.”

A warm gratitude to all of our volunteers! We couldn’t do it without you!