David Resnick, age 15:
Last week, we spent time with some homeless people. We went because it was Mitzvah day, meaning that the goal was to do an act of kindness. At first when I saw the amici of Centro Sant’Antonio, I’ll be honest, I was a little afraid. But then, as I started talking to them and got to know them, I realized that they were all really nice people who just wanted some company. I think I understand how they feel a little bit about being alone. I go to an Italian public school and during the day I don’t talk to many people because I don’t want to mess up in Italian. It can be lonely sometimes. Luckily, I have a friend who speaks English, so I am never completely alone, plus my Italian is getting better. The amici spend a lot of time alone, and probably have probably felt left out for many years. Think about it - nobody really talks to them when we pass them on the sidewalk, or on the metro. That is why the Centro Sant’Antonio is so important for them. Not only can they can get a nutritious meal and clothing there, it’s a place where they feel included. When all of the amici were sharing their stories with us, one of them cried as she was telling us about herself because she was so happy and moved that people were listening to her story, and that she found a place where people cared about her. After they shared their stories, we ate the snacks that we brought for them. My mom even made Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, which was something they had never tried before. After that, we talked for a little bit longer and then we left. I won’t forget this experience and the next time I see a homeless person, I won’t just look away from them and try to avoid them. I hope that next time more kids from Beth Shalom can come because I think that when kids at my age do these kind of Mitzvot, we get to see a different side of the place where we live and the people who live in our city.