By Sarah Baker | As a student at St. Catherine University, I was required to take a course on social justice. I decided to take a month-long class on homelessness in the Twin Cities. One component of the course was community service work. I got stuck working with Michael Dahl at Beacon.
The first day I met with Michael, he asked me why I wanted to volunteer as an intern at Beacon. I explained I wanted to help end homelessness, but I didn’t know what I could do to help in just one month. When Michael gave me the option of making a scrapbook of “Home Is” statements, I jumped at the opportunity. I am an artistic person, so this sort of task was perfect for me. Little did I know the challenge I was taking on.
Little did I know the impact that challenge would have on me.
Soon, I had 59 statements and 142 names on my hands from just one congregation, and I began my work of piecing them all together. Trying to wrestle all of those names and statements into something cohesive felt overwhelming, but the words of that congregation kept me going.
As I carefully read through each statement, I was struck by how inspiring they were. Seeing all the “Home Is” statements put together was very moving. It emphasized the fact that many people are without homes and without what home is. I began to see what a powerful thing this scrapbook and others like it could become.
Now I think about Beacon’s goal of collecting 3,000 statements from 30 congregations, and I think of the great strength that 3,000 individual voices can have when they speak in unison.
To give those voices a tangible form on paper, one that you can see and hold in your hand, would be to give shape to something amazing. I hope that the single scrapbook I created is just the beginning of something much more powerful.
I owe a big thank you to Michael for taking me on as an intern for the month and helping me bring the power of so many people’s words to life. The pen truly is mightier than the sword.