_By Molly Chamberlain
Photo Credit: N Street Village Photo of the Week
Molly is a Loretto Volunteer serving as Program Assistant/Activities Coordinator at Bethany Women's Center at N Street Village.
Hello, my name is Molly Chamberlain and I am a Loretto Volunteer living in Junia House in Washington, DC. For those of you who identify with the Enneagram, I am a 3. You may have already guessed that this brief reflection took weeks to compose because, as a three, I was preoccupied with the message it would send about me and the house (especially after Anne's brilliant piece).
This reflection comes to you several months into my volunteer year and I couldn't be a in a better place.
I recently graduated from Siena College in May with a bachelors in Social Work. I had spent several years in Albany, so coming to DC for a volunteer year was to be one thrilling experiment. I decided to take on the life of a "year-long" in order to explore my newly earned degree, my faith and what lay beyond upstate New York. Within the limited amount of time that I have been here, I have already learned a lot about all three.
My work in DC takes me to the Bethany Women's Center at N Street Village. I wake up every morning around 5:15 to shower and catch the bus; I get into work at 7:00 or 7:15 each day. My morning is filled with lots of things to do, preparing our day center for the communities' arrival. Once the door is unlocked there is a flurry of activity. Some days it seems that there will not be enough time in the day to meet everyone's needs. We begin our day with reflection and a meal. I enjoy meals in Bethany's because it is a time when a majority of our community is together. The tables often remind me of my high school cafeteria. There are certain groups of friends that have their usual seats together. It's a comforting reminder of the community we have amongst our clients, regardless of age, race, religion or creed.
My favorite time of day is not breakfast or even lunch. I patiently await the two o'clock lull that drifts in several times a week. These few silent minutes are few and far between in Bethany's and I treasure them for the opportunity they hold. After everyone has gotten detergent, shampoo or a pair of slacks in the morning, this lull provides a time to sit down and connect to people. I spend these few minutes each day playing Scrabble and discussing politics or talking to a group of women about their families while we play a game of Spades. It’s in these moments that everyone, staff and clients, can let their guard down and make meaningful connections. I have already grown to love and appreciate so many of the ladies at Bethany's it is hard for me to imagine what my life will look like without them.
I am excited for every day I go to work. I can only hope that I will hold this passion throughout the year and throughout my life.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.