By Tom Wake, A Viator House Volunteer Driver
I am a volunteer at Viator House because while I was growing up I had lots of challenges and many teachers, neighbors, bosses and even strangers who helped me along the way.
Since I have met our residents I am so impressed with their courage to travel so far to help themselves and their families. They are much stronger than I was at their age and maybe even than I am today. I’ve seen their strength, their courage, their love of life and their sense of humor. They feel like nephews or grandchildren to me.
I hope that the slight contributions of volunteers like me make them realize that Americans understand their dreams and that many of us want to help them achieve their goals. I also am happy they meet many, many different people who are unlike them in many ways but who still want to help them.
I understand that one of the reasons they are here and not somewhere in between their home and here or even dead is because they have had to be fiercely independent and very distrustful of people who have either wanted to exploit them or wish them harm along the way.
But some of my best friends were made when I was their age. So I hope that the time they spend at Viator House will be a chance for them to learn to trust one another and forge bonds that will be life-long with young people who have shared many of their troubles.
In the years to come, my prayer is that they will help one another. And when they talk about these years, I pray that, rather than remembering our names, they will talk about how we all worked together to overcome obstacles.