The Weekly Word: Putting Love Into Action
We all know Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love…
- With a significant other
- A parent, sibling or close relative
- Or with best friends and those who support us
It is very easy for us to celebrate Love in all of these areas of our lives because we are celebrating what is already there for most of us. What is often forgotten is that this day (or any day for that matter!) can be marked by the sharing of new love to those we may not consider.
Today we are reminded the importance of sharing love with all those around us from Natasha Mables, who found a passion through her work with The Salvation Army. Natasha helps with connecting those in need to the social services offered in the communities around Champaign, IL. In her time doing this, however, she has started an initiative that harbors a message of true love & understanding that we can all reflect on for Valentine’s Day!
“I believe that as a community we have the responsibility to help all people in need around us. This includes former inmates reentering society, trying to restart their lives on a better path.”
Natasha cares passionately about trying to create an easier reentry process for those who have served sentences and are now wishing to create a second chance for themselves. This is a very difficult process for her & her clients.
“Many will say they want former convicts to be able to come back into society rehabilitated but do very little to help them fully. Since meeting with my first client I saw how complicated things can be. There is this notion that ‘You did the crime so you get no sympathy’ but we need to start seeing them as humans. I always get asked if I feel safe as if my clients were monsters but they are humans first. We need to move away from judgment and fear by continuing to educate each other. Together we can create a better system and it starts with having the conversation with more people around us.”
The biggest hurdles these individuals face when coming back into society are housing and employment. Often the difficulties that former inmates face when trying to get stable housing or full time jobs lead them into despair.
“Giving these people the opportunity, getting them through the door to show that they can succeed – that is what I try to do. So many clients tell me they feel as if they were better off incarcerated and I put myself in their shoes. If I were them I would want an advocate that pushes for me to aspire to be more, do more. That is what we all need to do, be advocates for these people who just want to be accepted again.”
It may not be who we think of first when we think of Valentine’s Day, but the last person we think of might be the one who needs our love the most. Natasha’s clients are a perfect representation of who needs our love put into action and shared with them. Also, her passion is the inspiration we can draw from when carrying forth this powerful message. Remember that celebrating love means sharing simple, thoughtful & kind actions to those who need it most!
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Help us provoke time for thought each week with all who share in The Salvation Army's mission.