This weekend I will be participating in part 1 of NightShift’s intense volunteer training called FORGE. Four days, held over two weekends, are packed full with different speakers and practical lessons on what you need to know when serving vulnerable people in Surrey.

There was about 20 of us packed into NightShift’s education room at their office where they do their outreach on Friday night. The first night was mostly an introduction to certain staff on the team and the philosophy behind NightShift as an organization. Marty started off by introducing himself, telling us a bit about his story and how he ended up at night shift. Next up was Keri, who also shared with us her story and her role at NightShift. Lastly, MaryAnne introduced herself and told the incredible story about how NightShift was started back in 2004.

My favourite part of the night was an exercise that MaryAnne did with all of us. She gave an opportunity for each person in the room to share how they found out about NightShift and what made them decide to volunteer. It was truly amazing to hear everyone’s short stories. The room sat in the weight of authentic, human connection. Some people were affected by homelessness themselves, and felt that they should give back to the community. Others were impacted by family members or friends that have suffered from addiction. A high school teacher who preaches community service to his students often figured he should start getting involved within his own community. One guy was even fulfilling community service hours for jumping the carousel at the airport! He did have a genuine heart to serve the vulnerable though.

Hearing everyone’s stories was a great experience and it reminded me how powerful the work that NightShift does is to the people it serves. Day 1 of FORGE showed me that there’s people from all walks of life that have a heart for the community of Surrey and are willing to step up and give what they have to serve others.

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