On Saturday, June 16, Showering Love Hosted a Father’s Day Fun Day called, “The Ball is in Your Court.” This day was created to inspire men experiencing homelessness to instead experience teamwork and encourage them to use the full court advantage, so to speak. Mentors and volunteers encouraged our guests experiencing homelessness to utilize the wrap around resources provided to them. The guests received points, in the form of hope and were even given 3-point encouragement throughout the day. Mentors and guests participated in over 10 activities to create connection, teamwork and support.
It’s all about Teamwork
There were several “swish” moments of love shared this day. Guests that arrived looking disconnected had more bounce in their step as the day progressed. In basketball, when dribbling, the goal is to find ways to get past your opponent. Similarly, Showering Love, provides resources so our guests can get past whatever obstacles are in their way.
When shooting hoops, the majority of the technique lies in stance and body position. When the men who are experiencing homelessness arrived, their body language spoke volumes. Body language provides a window into our confidence and character. The volunteers and mentors observed the guests’ heads slowly start to look up and started making more eye contact throughout the day. Some were shy, some were outspoken and some were unsure. However, by the end the day, what their stance revealed was an overwhelming attitude of gratitude. Our guests were given the opportunity to experience the full court advantage in life by receiving all the support that was available throughout the day. It was “nothing but net!”
To be a team player, one must be willing to put aside one’s own pride and instead ask for and accept assistance. In basketball you dribble, assist, pass and shoot, but nothing works without teamwork. Teamwork is what makes the game possible. This is the beauty not only of basketball, but of life. One of our volunteers, Deborah Miller, summarized the importance of teamwork by sharing that “even when you’re played the game of life, it’s the feeling of teamwork that you’ll remember. You’ll forget the plays, the shots and the scores, but, you’ll never forget your teammates.”
It’s your move
Some of our guests participated in playing chess. In chess, a win is not guaranteed by only moving forward. Sometimes one has to move sideways to win. Life is much like a game of chess. One’s live is created not only by the moves one makes, but also by the moves one does not make. Showering Love is here to help those down on their luck make a move that will support them in building a strategy to self sufficiency. In life, as in chess, forethought wins!
Go ahead… jump
As guests played checkers, the lesson taught was that the more kings a player has, the more advantage he has in winning the game. A king, the strongest piece, is formed by crowing a piece so that it is two pieces high. Often times, in life, it takes more than just one person to create the strength necessary to win the game. It takes teamwork and collaboration to create ease in winning the game. While it is possible to win without other’s support, it is plain to see that it is much easier to win when we accept and receive support from others.
The walls come falling down
Like in the game of Jenga, the men who are experiencing homelessness worked with their mentor on removing blocks. After enough blocks are removed it is inevitable that the walls will come crashing down. Mentors were able to make some inroads into bringing walls down so that our guests could experience teamwork and what it is like to be part of a strong community.
Our guests also tossed the Frisbee and experienced flight. The airfoil on the outer edge of a Frisbee is called the “Morrison slope” and it is what gives it lift in flight. Part of Showering Love’s mission is to lift those who are experiencing homelessness and help them take flight.
It’s a splash
In order to stay afloat, good swimmers much have strong core muscles. The muscle at the core of Showering Love is the belief that everyone matters. Guests played in the pool and strengthened not only their abdominal muscles but also their core belief that they matter. Watching the men playing in the pool was so refreshing!
If you’ve played Foosball then you have probably seen how many times you need to turn the handle in order to score on your opponent. During the Father’s Day event as the men played Foosball, many of the winning shots were the result of strong turns. Volunteers and mentors experienced 24 homeless mens’ lives transform from feeling hopeless to feeling hopeful and ready to make 180 degree turns in their lives. The turn-arounds were amazing!
It’s your break
A pool table consists of all different color balls with different numbers on them. During the Father’s Day event, every volunteer, mentor and guest wore the same shirt in order to experience unity and teamwork. The men got a break from the daily stress of living on the streets. They were able to chalk up their worries and have fun. There was definitely brotherly love at the pool table.
It’s a tie
The guests and mentors were guided to line up and face each other. Each participant was handed a paper tie made by 4 and 5 year-olds at another community event. First, the mentors were instructed to take the tie they had been handed, look at the guest across from him, hand him the tie and complete the sentence, “what I see in you is…” Then, the guests looked at their mentors, handed them the tie they had received and completed the same phrase. Without prompting, the men started shaking each other’s hands and hugging. This was one of the most beautiful and emotional moments of the day. The room was filled with love. Everyone got to experience themselves as champions and winners.
You’ve got a friend
As the the event came to a close, we made a big circle and held hands as the song “You’ve Got a Friend” played in the background. Each person shared one word describing how they were feeling. Some of the words shared were, “gratitude,” “appreciation,” “hope,” and “love.” We learned that we all need a friend in times of trouble. Showering Love’s motto is, “we come as a friend, to be a friend and to make a new friend.” Lots of friendships were formed this day.
Each guest received new sneakers, Bombas socks, a Showering Love t-shirt, gym shorts, a back pack filled with hygiene products and a bus pass. This was all possible due to generous donations from our community. Thank you to everyone that made this possible.
Showering Love would like to give a very special thank you to Temple Beth Emet for hosting the event. They have committed to making this an annual event!