The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Things Can Change In A Semester!

This semester has been a great opportunity to grow as a person and truly I never expected the changes that occurred to happen. Upon entering this semester I thought it was going to be like the past five, knowledge filled and straightforward. What I was not expecting was that I would enter into a service based learning course and come out of it a changed person. I must be honest, though I have changed I still believe that I have work to do on myself. I can say that all the changes would not have been possible without the women, volunteers, and also employees of the Downtown Women’s Center.
At the center I have experienced both ups and downs and learned about homelessness and also about myself. I have made connections with women that I would have never thought I could have at the beginning of the semester. A couple women in particular are named Rose and Addy. Their genuine intuitiveness about my roommate and my week is wonderful. They truly seem to care about what has gone on in the week that we have not seen each other and they are open and willing to share about their week, good and bad. The great thing about these ladies is that they never push the boundary or try to cut corners to get anything from you. All they seem interested in is our company and friendly conversation. I must say that this is a breath of fresh air especially because of one of my experiences with a woman the last time I was at the center. I can honestly say that I have not ever felt more manipulated than I did in that moment. A woman that I have grown fond of over my time at the women’s center took advantage of a situation and broke the rules, all while using me to get what she wanted, a new backpack, clothing, more shoes, a hat, and a new purse. I was not hurt by her want for these basic items, however, the worst part was that she knew she was breaking the rules and all she used me for were the keys to get to the places that she wanted to go. My supervisor told me that I didn’t do anything wrong, however, I know that I did. Looking back my gut feeling was right all along. I knew there was something wrong with the situation but I continued to help her because of the good faith that I had placed in her. One of the worst feelings about the situation that I was put in was that my roommate and I constantly have talked about how you cannot put you full-hearted trust in these women because they do need to hustle to survive on Skid Row. Though this was a minor situation that occurred I can say that what I have taken away from these women is more than a conversation or a story that they have shared.
These women have shown me what it means to be strong and also what it means to be a survivor. They have also taught me how to interact with people even if at times you are a bit out of your comfort zone. One of my own personal beliefs was also strengthened during my experience at the center was that every person deserves to be treated with the same respect and dignity regardless of their circumstance. Homelessness may seem far-fetched for many people, however, the reality is that many of the people on the streets as we speak have fallen from lives similar to yours and mine.

By: Alyssa Silva


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