Karen: “I didn’t want to be just a one-time volunteer…I wanted to make a difference and a commitment to help turn someone’s life around.”

Karen Connor in Fresh Threads

Karen Connor shares some thoughts about what St. Francis House means to her.

In searching for a meaningful volunteer opportunity, I found St. Francis House on the internet.

I was impressed by the range of volunteer programs they offered and flexibility of schedules. I signed up immediately.

I didn’t want to be a one-time volunteer.  Rather, I wanted to give fully of myself and have consistent, meaningful interactions with individuals who are less fortunate.  I volunteer weekly in the Fresh Threads Clothing Department and also in Studio Shine outfitting our Moving Ahead Program students with business attire.

I have lived in Boston for 40 years and observe the “face of poverty” on the streets of our City every day. As a volunteer I experience the realities of human suffering – up close and personal. You realize how you can touch their lives and make things better.

What we do here in seemingly small face-to-face connections is so important – you never know how deeply a person’s life can be affected by a single encouraging word and a gesture of respect. 

Yesterday I helped a young man, age 25, with everything he needed for a job interview—he left here in his new suit, so happy and confident about his next steps. He returned to St. Francis House after the interview to thank me for my support. I was so touched by his kindness.

St. Francis House gives people dignity and hope.

Our guests know they are not alone, that they have potential and can move forward. It truly takes only one person to change another person’s life and the smallest act of kindness to lift them up and out of a negative path.

As for me, volunteering at St. Francis House was part of a life changing event which provided me with an opportunity to lend a hand, and the time to follow through on my commitment. It was a call to action.

I’ve had a rewarding career devoted to supporting business objectives for the companies I have worked for. As a volunteer I am rewarded every time I walk through the doors of St. Francis House. I am grateful to be able to do something for someone else.

My parents were my role models and an inspiration to all who knew them. They lived a life of service and touched the lives of so many.  during their lifetime.  My mother was a lifelong nurse and volunteer.  And my father was a mechanic and successful businessman “with a heart”.  They were generous with their compassion, time, support and encouragement regardless of a person’s background or circumstance.  They understood human suffering and shouldered the burden of those less fortunate because they sincerely cared…unconditionally…..it was who they were.

And it doesn’t take much.

Think about all the hours of the day you waste on things that don’t really amount to anything and here you can really help turn someone’s life around.  I feel so lucky to be a part of this special place and hope you’ll consider sharing a few hours a week to make a difference.

– Karen Connor, St. Francis House supporter