helping the needy.

Hi, I run a clothing closet for a live in program that works to help transition homeless people into permanent housing as employed, functioning members of society. When coming off the streets, most of these people have no understanding of the importance of personal image and I have seen some of the strangest clothing arrangements. Part of my job is to teach these people how to dress appropriately to fit into society. The problem I run into is that they have emotional issues from being on the streets for so long and one of the places it manifests is in how they dress. Getting them to improve their image is a very slow and difficult process. I’m not qualified to help them manage their emotional issues and its not my job but I don’t know how to make their transition with their image easier for them. What are the steps I should take with them that would help them gradually improve? I’m only a volunteer but am also determined. Personal image is something that is often neglected in these types of programs but also very important.

3 Replies to “helping the needy.”

  1. I’m no professional, but I can give you my personal opinion. Perhaps, if you have a place (in the facility you volunteer) where you keep all the clothes for the needy, you may want to try and offer to swap their clothes for a new outfit that you can find in there. Or offer/suggest to them to make changes to their clothes (if there’s someone available to do that for them). All this as respectful suggestions, trying not to make them feel bad by making them think they look awful. Although I think many people lose interest in their personal care precisely because they are depressed (even if they know how to do it) or they lose interest in life, the cause may be deeper than what we think. Good luck, and thank you for doing what you do!!!

  2. That is a very noble cause and I wish you all the best. I do have to agree somewhat with Frank about deeper issues but a fresh updated look from a caring individual maybe all the push someone need to turn their life around. People would be amazingly surprised what a small gesture does for people who literally have nothing. In order to understand this concept you really have to experience it first hand to believe it. The satisfaction of helping one individual alone is enough to make you keep trying again and again.

  3. I can understand how you are feeling. I also volunteered before but it was for a school activity and teaching native people called “Itas” from the Philippines about Grade school learning even when they’re in their early 20’s to 40’s. What you need to do is be very patient with them. The only way for people to learn who didn’t live in a society like us is time and patience. Even if you get frustrated, nothing good will come out of it and the problems that they’ve dealt with is hard. Personal image isn’t on the top of their list because they would be more focused on where they will get the money to eat or feed their children. They don’t know the importance of building an image and that’s where you come in. Letting them know the importance of personal image and being committed to it is substantial, so that they can be successful with their work and lives. You are doing great and I wish you all the best!

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