“In reaching out to the stranger in our own midst, the person we have been taught to fear or ignore or shun or despise, we discover the fundamentals of faith. The pilgrimage of peace does not require travel to faraway sites; the way of peace begins with our next step, with our neighbor who is suffering.” - Craig Rennebohm
For many places, volunteering means putting in the grunt work, so to speak. Doing the dishes. Cleaning up after. Serving food. Providing the much needed cogs in the machinery of the program. And for larger organizations, this isn’t a bad thing. Indeed, it can help them scale up their work to help more and more people when they have a solid volunteer base.
But at Our Common Ground, we are about the small moments of being present with others. Our goal is to provide and safe and welcoming space for anyone that needs one that day; a space where we can get to know one another, and maybe even find a friend or two. Doing this takes a community. Which is one reason why volunteering with us can be a little different. We are not just asking you to do dishes. We are asking you to join our community, even if it's just for the day.
Now, things like dishes need to be done. Floors need to be swept. Garbage needs to be picked up. Toilets need to be un-plugged. Etc. Etc. But these things are a part of community. And something that we all need to help with. So if you do volunteer, don’t worry, we will probably ask you to help with these things as well. (Ok, we probably won’t ask you to fix toilets, that will still fall to me.)
But the main thing we will ask if you come and volunteer is to help us be present to our neighbors experiencing poverty, addiction, and mental (un)health. This can be as simple as saying hi when someone comes to get coffee. Or as challenging as sitting with people going through intense trauma in their lives. Or the myriad of things in between. As Rennebohm says in the quote above, sometimes the best way to seek peace is with the neighbor near us. That is what we seek to do at Our Common Ground.
We would love to talk with you more about how you can volunteer with us, and join us in this work of building relationship and community with our neighbors who live outside in Everett. Please visit our Volunteer page to learn more, or contact us to sit down and hear more about Our Common Ground.
Come join us!