A field trip that I will remember forever

While thinking about a topic for my editorial, I thought about pretty much everything. I came close to giving up when I suddenly remembered one of my classes in school last year. The class was Introduction to Communications and the teacher was one who thought outside the box. She often brought real world experiences into the class and showed us people from all walks of life.

While thinking about a topic for my editorial, I thought about pretty much everything. I came close to giving up when I suddenly remembered one of my classes in school last year.  The class was Introduction to Communications and the teacher was one who thought outside the box. She often brought real world experiences into the class and showed us people from all walks of life.

On one occasion, our class went on a field trip to the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre. I have never thought much of the homeless in all honesty. It isn’t something that you see every day in Golden but in reality it is here too.

When we walked in, there were people outside and I won’t lie, I was scared. I didn’t know where to look, what to do or what they thought about me. We went inside and were brought upstairs to an area where those who use the DI can do creative work. While we listened to information about the program that happens there, I couldn’t help but notice a guy about my age in the back of my room. At the end of the presentation he came up and spoke.

I don’t remember his name, and don’t even remember his full story. But I do remember that he made me realise that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time. He spoke about the dangers in his household and said that it was his choice to leave. He chose to be homeless but only because he had no choice.

It was life changing to be given a tour of the DI with him coming with us. The DI has different levels in order to transition those who stay there into a stage where they can once again live in their own house.

You could see that there were people there who were genuinely trying to get their feet back on solid ground. It was uplifting to see how people who have hit rock bottom can climb back up again. But as we reached the bottom floor, the sadness of the real issue hit.

The DI has a strict rule that those who enter must be sober- except for the bottom floor. This floor is dedicated to those who are using. They are given mats and blankets, and as we walked through the room, the looks on the faces were lost. Their eyes looked nowhere and most just slept. At that point, it didn’t matter how they got in that position, if it was their fault or just a series of unfortunate events, there is no way anyone with a heart cannot feel for those people and wish them better.

I didn’t become a busy volunteer and I didn’t donate money. But I did change my entire view on the issue of homelessness and I do hope to volunteer in Calgary next year. It taught me just how much you can learn from someone when you are forced to face their reality, and that it is something everyone should experience.