Michelle Burns – Homeless Shelters

I owe a lot to my parents for raising my siblings in a hard-working, service-oriented home. Growing up, my family would serve food at a local homeless shelter quite often. I learned how much of a connection you can have with someone who seems to live so differently than me.

What I found was that either I was not that different from that individual, or if I was, I could learn a lot from their experiences. From then on, my heart has always been in serving those in impoverished communities. I did research on positive youth development during undergrad and graduate school, so I generally gravitate towards programs centered around youth and families—whether that be supporting relationships, sharing resources, or coaching in education and career goals.

Nothing makes me happier than finding that moment with someone where a wall is taken down and vulnerability is welcome—that is when a true relationship forms and you are able to challenge and fuel that individual in so many ways.