When I Walked In the Door, I Could Tell This Place Was Special
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

When I Walked In the Door, I Could Tell This Place Was Special

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July 29, 2015

By Justin Zeamer, Engineering Intern at GE Healthcare

In July, I was fortunate to take part in United Way's Intern Day of Action. This is a day where companies motivate their interns to go out and make a difference in the community.

I volunteered with a group of interns at Hebron House of Hospitality in Waukesha. The Hebron House is one of the largest nonprofits dedicated to providing shelter and food for people who struggling with homelessness. When I walked in the door, I could tell this place was special. We were welcomed with smiling faces and it was obvious that staff and residents took pride in the Hebron House.

That day I was assigned to pull weeds and clean up flowerbeds surrounding the property. At first, one might be put off by such a mundane task, but this is where I took a step back and thought about how the project would impact those who live at Hebron House. That day, we learned from staff that people who come and seek assistance from the Hebron House for the first time are hesitant and nervous.

Homelessness can cause individuals to feel neglected and insignificant. Walking up to a house where there are lots of weeds covering the flowers doesn’t provide that sense of comfort they are yearning for. I learned even a small task – like pulling weeds – can help alleviate some of those fearful emotions for an individual looking for shelter. It can make a place look more inviting and more like home.

In addition to benefiting those who live at Hebron House, United Way’s Intern Day of Action was also an extremely gratifying experience for me. I think it's important for everyone to take a step back and realize that there are people in this world who are desperate for things we take for granted every day. Giving back even an hour of your day can make such an impact on individuals who are struggling with homelessness or other misfortunes. I truly hope companies who participated in this event continue to instill that important lesson in their interns and also consistently look for ways to have them lend a hand to those in need.

Want to make a difference like Justin? Volunteer with us during United Way’s annual Season of Caring.

Hebron House has been a United Way partner since 1985. Learn about the programs United Way funds at Hebron House.

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