Going through mundane motions of everyday life can be dull at times, but sometimes those mundane actions can have an affect on people. A few months into my year of service at Project PLASE I have a firm grasp on the daily life of the shelter and the clients. Unlike some other shelters, Project PLASE does not kick out the clients during the day time, allowing the clients to feel at home. This really allows me to get to know some of the clients, and their daily routine. From the outside looking in, it appears to be repetitive life, mostly watching television in the ‘day room’, walking outside for a smoke break, and going to an occasional doctors appointment.
About a month ago, my supervisor began to assign me the task of putting up a weekly word, which would be taped all over the hallway. Every Monday I would choose a word and then proceed to spend too much time picking out a different font and clipart that fit well with the word. Although I enjoy trying to get as creative with clipart as I can, I honestly thought it was the type of thing the clients would gloss over and mostly just ignore. I thought this because this is something that I would do. Last week, one of the clients that I have gotten to know, walks up and mentions that next week the word of the week should be ‘growth’, because she and others have a lot of growing to do. It took me back for a second. Over a month of putting up these words, thinking I was just taping up a piece of paper on the wall, I realized that what I was doing was having an affect on people, brightening somebody’s week, or potentially slightly changing a person’s repetitive lifestyle.
Although it is cliche, it’s important to understand how the simplest actions can have a large impact on other people. Whether it be smiling at a stranger or choosing an appropriate word of the week, we are all confronted with easy choices that can make somebody’s day. These sentiments are things that I have been told by my parents, teachers and other adult figures throughout my upbringing. Although I understood and heard them, I don’t think I ever took their advice to heart. It wasn’t until I experienced one of my simple actions first hand affect somebody, that this sentiment was instilled in me. This cliche is something that I will begin to carry with me for the future.