I’ve Learned | Betsy Massey

My involvement with Urban Ministries came unintentionally. After years of working in a major corporation in the administrative field I felt I deserved to take it easy. I wasn’t looking to spend my time “giving back”. But then, our church had a guest speaker, Peter Morris from Urban Ministries of Wake County.

As I listened to what he had to say and the way he said it, my heart was touched. My daily interactions did not bring me face-to-face with those living in poverty or the disenfranchised of Wake County. I supported different causes through monetary gifts. I wrote checks. It was easy and painless.

The things Dr. Morris spoke of and the challenges of his organization began to creep into my thoughts more than I wanted. I went to a volunteer orientation session. It was just for information gathering. I wasn’t going to commit to anything. The more I learned, the more I felt this was an opportunity for me to share my skills in a way that would benefit others.

I was trained as a Crisis Support volunteer. The computer skills required are minimal but the effect of meeting people in crisis are maximum. I am able hear individual’s stories and to witness first-hand how devastating a job loss, physical illness, mental illness or addiction can have on one person. And it’s never just one person. It’s their families who struggle and pay the price as well.

Putting a face to those who are on food stamps and still go hungry gives you a new perspective. Senior Citizens who have worked all their lives go hungry when it comes to a choice between food & medicines because the roof has to be replaced.

I’ve learned most people want to work, but finding a job and affordable day care can be daunting. I’ve learned there are couples who have worked hard but see the loss of their security after a devastating illness. I’ve learned that young people have made poor choices and the struggle to change their future seems insurmountable. I’ve learned that there are grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and never will be able to retire.

I’ve learned that working a few hours a month and making a small monthly donation didn’t change my lifestyle, but it changed my heart. I’ve learned not to judge because except for some good choices and the grace of God, I could be on the other side of the counter.

Choose to Volunteer today and learn more about the challenges facing our community

The opinions expressed by staff, volunteers, donors, partner agencies, and all others and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Urban Ministries of Wake County.