Carpenter’s Shelter is home to a diverse group of residents, and, in order to make sure that their needs are met, we must be able to understand those needs. The shelter’s volunteer team speaks over eleven languages, and often assists with translation between shelter staff and our clients.

Melate Bekele is just one of the many talented volunteers at Carpenter’s who donates her time, energy and knowledge to bettering the lives of Carpenter’s clients. She not only assists with translation, but also volunteers at our front desk and at David’s Place, and rallies her friends to cook meals at the shelter. This week, she tells us about her experiences at Carpenter’s:

I heard a preacher once say “you are not living if you are not giving.” That statement has always stuck in my head as a way of life. I come from a family of humanitarians. My parents instilled in me the importance of always helping and giving to others. I have made a promise to myself that my life will consist of philanthropic activities. I do not volunteer because it is something I do to feel good about myself, but because it’s something I am passionate about and love doing.

I enjoy the diverse volunteering opportunities that Carpenter’s Shelter has to offer. In the shelter, I have volunteered in several positions: translator, David’s Place assistant, administrative front desk help, children’s hour volunteer, and kitchen worker. The winter shelter at David’s Place is interesting because of the level of interactions with individuals. The children’s hour is great because I love kids and enjoy playing with them. But while all of the volunteer duties are rewarding, I have found translating interests me most. I translate in Amharic the Ethiopian language for the Ethiopian residents, and am able to help explain the residents need and communicate the shelter’s concerns and thoughts. It allows me to gain a greater insight into programs, plans, and options for residents.

It has been one year that I have had the pleasure of volunteering at Carpenters Shelter. I love the shelter because of all the great resources it offers, and the amazing people I have met there. I have volunteered numerous places throughout my life but none were like Carpenter’s Shelter. The programs and resources they provide truly empower residents and prepare them to get back on their feet. I am amazed at the level of commitment all the staff and case managers have to improving the lives of the residents.

I have gained a lot of respect for individuals who have struggled and came out stronger from it all. I am continuously astonished at the optimistic spirits of the staff and residents in the shelter regardless of the circumstance. Volunteering at the shelter has taught me so much, and I feel blessed to have made strong connections with the residents and staff. And I will continue to volunteer at the shelter because there is no way to live without serving others.