I was trying to find the building my local driver's education programme is held in, and I accidentally wound up in a place I never expected to be accepted in: a Veteran's drop in centre. I stood in front looking at the stuff in the window for a good 5+ minutes, daring myself to go in and grab a brochure. It didn't quite work out that way, the peer mentors struck up a conversation with me, I told them my story, and they were like 'we've heard that one before, want a cup of coffee?'
I came in sporadically, and two weeks later, they asked me if I wanted to be the female mentor because they didn't have one.
I'm now in there whenever it's open and I don't have an appointment. They pay me absolutely nothing, but if I can't get a job that pays me money until I graduate from my EMT programme (I'm going back to finish it in January), I'll do this. I'm still looking for a job that will pay me some money, but I'd rather do this and get paid nothing. I love my job, I find it rewarding and I'm actually doing something that makes a difference in people's lives. We make sure every Vet that comes through our doors is warm, safe, clean, dry, healthy, fed, and, free; and we're like a family...with Vets from WWII all the way to Vets who got out of the service last week, from all races and cultures, from all walks of life.
The three main mentors that are there the majority of the time are T, who was a medic in the Army, has absolutely no filter and a wicked twisted sense of humor that comes out as statements that make everyone stare at him like 'what!?', and does like 90% of the work even though D and I also know how to do it, and his desk is a disaster area. D, who was a Marine, is bitingly sarcastic with a tiny sense of humor that comes out as extremely creative insults, and is a huge geek who loves to build models and LEGOs that often take up much of his desk. Then myself, who was supposed to be a medic in the Army (until some messed-up stuff happened), is Evil's evil twin, has an extremely horrible warped and twisted sense of humor that often comes out as scathing one-liners and jokes, keeps the electric flyswatter within reach, keeps snacks, stress balls, chargers, and lighters in her desk (that everyone likes to borrow); and bears the nicknames of 'Flyswatter', 'Short stuff', 'Lissie', 'Kid', and 'Princess Potty Mouth'. We have an Anglican priest who comes in (Father Brother S) who's our chaplain, sometimes newcomers are a little surprised to see a priest hanging out.
T is pretty much the mom (he technically is the boss), and runs a pretty complex family; but he's also the little nephew that's bouncing off the walls. D is more like the older brother that's a bit on the rebellious side, but is actually a pretty nice guy. I'm the crazy cat lady aunt that dresses like a punk that everyone warned you about; and the little sister who's just one of the guys, but don't mess with her because it's not the guys you'll have to worry about...it's her (and you'll have to answer to the guys too).
I hope I can always do this job, we make a real difference in the Vet's lives and it's made a difference in my life. It makes me happy, and I haven't been happy in a long time.