First day at work and delighted to see my baby boy is excited to be back at his nursery. As I approached the door he was kicking the air with excitement and a huuuge grin on his face as I carried him in on my hip. Life at work is bliss when I know he is happy. Later when I picked him up I caught up with the lady who runs the nursery. Like many people who work with children, she has a very big heart. Every Christmas Day she spends it working at Crisis – a London charity to give homeless people respite from the street at Christmas.
She was joined this year by her teenage daughter and son. The charity not only provides a Christmas dinner, but also has a hairdressers, team of counsellors and a job centre so that people are given the best opportunity to change their circumstances. They occupy a disused office block in the city so that they can help as many homeless as comfortably possible.
The nursery manager and her children helped serve the food and enjoy the day with the visitors. They also had lots of time to chat to the visitors. She mentioned that every year she is surprised how many of the homeless were no different to most homeowners – a regular job, mortgage/ landlord, family etc and then something catastrophic happens in their lives and the only option is the streets. Her children were shocked at all the different scenarios and that there was no ‘typical’ homeless person. Some have degrees, professional qualifications. One man they spoke to had split from his wife and couldn’t afford his own place so was living on the streets but keeping it a secret from his family.
She mentioned that there were other teenage and young people helping over Christmas. One particular girl, who lived near her although she had no idea that she had also volunteered worked there for 4 days. She said that all the teens working there were from normal backgrounds not privileged, and that the girl who had stayed for 4 days she knew had been encouraged to help in the community from a young age and so recognised the importance of helping when she could.
I want to instil that in my children as my Mum did with me. I remember every Saturday helping Mum to collect for Oxfam and also doing door-to-door donation envelopes. I look back on my teenage years and wish I had done more.
Her point about the children of the privileged is a bit of a reflection on the direction today’s society is going. I don’t watch Made in Chelsea (my mother does for some strange reason) but I’m sure their viewing figures would be significantly affected if they spent a day with Crisis – but which way would they be affected – up or down?
If you want to know more about Crisis visit their website.
I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you are able to support the campaign, please donate to my page on the Unicef site. I am aiming for a pound a day.
Thanks for reading,