Aside from being an amateur archaeologist my time at the museum-owned Evergreen Cemetery has brought me into greater understanding of the Santa Cruz homeless community. Being from a small town in the Midwest, I found it alarming and unsettling to suddenly be in a city with such a visible homeless population. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how to react.
The opportunity to work at Evergreen alongside a crew from the Homeless Services Center (HSC) provided the opportunity to interact with homeless people on an equal playing field when they weren’t asking me for spare change and I didn’t have my guard up. Over the past few months I became friends with a recovering heroin addict, listened to stories of a grown man’s lifelong struggles & continual hope, volunteered at Project Homeless Connect, and sang Beetles songs at the top of my lungs in the sunshine.
Today my friend & fellow volunteer shared some great news: he just got his own place with the help of HSC and he plans to move out of the shelter this week. His words: “It can be done.” Congratulations, dear friend. What an inspiration to stay strong & always keep trying.