Volunteers Give Hearts a Home

Directors Chelsy Corcoran and Nikki McGriffin have made formidable changes to themselves and how they look at the world around them since becoming more involved with the Homelessness Network program, affectionately also known as “HomieNet”. “It had never occurred to me that there are homeless kids out there,” admitted Nikki, as she further explains how her stereotypes were broken down as she spent more and more time with children at shelters like the Serenity Inn. A volunteer’s job in this area of service is just to be there for the people, especially the homeless youths who may not have any other interactions with the community outside their own small groups. The volunteers of this special YES House organization serve as that bridge.

Nikki explains one instance when she saw kids displaying an amazing amount of kindness when a child was crying because his feelings were hurt, and multiple other youngsters gathered around to console the upset child. “It’s definitely like a little family in these shelter communities,” Nikki says, and she can recall countless instances where she was moved by the warmth of various individuals. Co-director Chelsy has also had experiences with kids who are changed dramatically by the influence of HomieNet; one stand-offish child really warmed up to her once she had spent enough time figuring him out and learning how to interact with him. Now during services, the child is very loving and receptive to Chelsy, as well as other volunteers. After intertwining their lives with HomieNet, the directors have seen substantial shifts in their perspectives, and Nikki has even postponed her departure from HSU so that she could serve with YES for another semester. Nikki hopes to continue to facilitate outreach in the Humboldt community after graduating with her B.S. in Psychology, and promises to use her positive outlook in her continuation of serving the homeless community.