This is probably the most personal post I’ve ever published on my blog. For one thing, I’m introducing myself (hi, my name is Carrie; nice to meet you!) but I’ve also invited Alison R. from Dublin Simon Community to say a few words about the charity, and what they do to help the homeless. What she has shared is amazing, and her story is really inspiring and gives me so much hope for the people DSC are trying to help. But first, let me tell you why helping the homeless is so meaningful to me.
For the last 4 years, I have volunteered on a church run Soup Run. In that time I have met so many people on the street, or living in hostels and shelters, and listened to their stories. I have seen so much heartache and hurt, and felt my own heart ache for the people I have met. I have also met the Simon Soup Run on occasion, and had a chance to meet some of their volunteers on the ground.
I care deeply about supporting the Simon Community, in their efforts to help the homeless. I know from the stories I’ve listened to, the people I have met that homelessness doesn’t discriminate, it could happen to anyone at anytime. The Simon’s have so many services to reach out to those in need but they can’t do it without support. It’s why every time I can run a race for charity, I choose to run for DSC, including their yearly Fun Run (which I was very sorry to miss this year but will certainly run next year!).
In fundraising for them I have been in contact with Alison a lot. She’s always been quick to answer my questions, but more so, she offers encouragement and support. She has written the below from her own heart, sharing her own experience. I am delighted to have Alison as a guest writer on my blog. Her words are moving and I do recommend you get a tissue! She has put into words the reasons I support this very worthy cause, she has said it better than I ever could.
“Can you imagine how you could end up homeless, the course your life might take to find yourself without a roof over your head? But what if you lost your wife, your husband, your child? What if your business had to close down or you lost your job? What if your rent supplement was cut and you couldn’t stay in your home? What if you suffered from a mental illness or an addiction?
At Simon, these are the stories we hear every day. Homelessness is not as far away as people may think, especially in these tough and uncertain times. It really can happen to anyone. It is never a choice.
Simon is a place that people turn to. We are focused on providing supportive alternatives to people living in despair, enabling them to rebuild their broken lives and empowering them to secure a safe home of their own. To do this, we continue to develop services that tackle the root causes of homelessness, as well as providing permanent housing options, supports and preventative services that can move people out of homelessness for good. If you can imagine people who have experienced any level of homelessness at some point during their lives, they may find themselves subjected to a number of complex problems. In a nut shell homelessness wilts away at your back bone, sense of self and sense of belonging. That is why we are a community as with all communities they are made up of different people and pieces one as important as the other. There is no quick fix or magic cure for the mental damage that homelessness can cause to a human being. Here at Dublin Simon we believe that with all the right supports we can bring each person back into a community with a sense of self and most importantly a sense of purpose in life, we pride ourselves in our success stories.
I should know as I am one of them.
We realized over time that a healthy body is also a healthy mind and so we introduced the Health & Wellbeing service. This aims to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of Dublin Simon Service Users, staff and volunteers through a combination of exercise, healthy eating and relaxation options. Some of our services offered are Personal Training Sessions, Boxing Classes, Relaxation Groups & Health Groups which focus on promoting a healthy life style and Diet.
Many of our clients participate in our annual fun run and say that they would be lost if it was not for the health and well being service.
Last year I ran the Fun Run for my first time, I was actually a resident in Ushers Island at the time, and was nearing my last weeks. I had spent 4 months in there trying to piece my life back together, with huge help from all the supports Simon offered to me. This was the first time for me to have the privilege of meeting Carrie, She ran gracefully and happily with a T shirt marked ‘This Fat Girl Runs’, I was surprised to see this but also very proud of the fact that she was running proof that she could do anything…just like me, who ran behind her !!!
This year I was part of the Fun Run in a very different way, I was part of the fundraising team who project managed the event, and though I ran around for the day, it was not in the race, but to ensure others had a memorable day just as I had had last year. Carrie was nowhere to be seen as she was in her own training, I guess she has been working up to this since last years Fun Run. Yes, This Fat Girl Runs, was unable to take part as she will be doing the Dublin City Marathon (26.2 Miles) in 2 weeks time and was advised to rest up and save all her energy.
I can’t help but think What a Difference A Year Can Make to an Individuals life! I know I couldn’t have done it without Dublin Simon and if it was not for our Health & Well Being service, I would not have been there and I would never have ran with Carrie..
I’m so proud to know Carrie and to see her running this marathon for herself, but also to raise funds for people experiencing homelessness…Go Carrie! You Can do Anything you put your mind to!!
We at Dublin Simon are wishing you the very best of luck Carrie, we’re proud to know you !!!”
To find out more about the Dublin Simon Community, please visit their website.
To support the Simon Community through my marathon (my first!) please visit my Just Giving page. Even if you cannot make a donation, please do leave a good luck in the comments below!