Montrose Grace Place - One Volunteers Journey

Ryan Rolston
My name is Ryan and I have been volunteering for Grace Place for the last two months. Because of all of those who have made Grace Place possible, I am able to share with you this life changing experience.

As a direct youth volunteer I have created relationships with youth which have shined a light on the world of these marginalized children. I have witnessed the struggles, joys, heartache and hopes of amazingly tough individuals. For four hours every Thursday, Grace Place offers a safe place filled with laughter, shining with love, and walls that echo the hope that drove these efforts in the first place.

At Grace Place, I have seen the necessity of hope and love. I have heard determination and strength that surpasses most of my previous experiences. It is in these four hours where I have truly begun to see the amazing beauty of laughter.

Don’t get me wrong, this experience is also difficult. I was offered the opportunity to speak at my church, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, and share about Grace Place. And amongst other things, I shared with them the most difficult time of the night. This is where we must say ‘see you later.’ It is where the youth ask you where they can go to stay safe and we must respond with the limited resources available to them.

I began to find this time difficult and at times I allowed the last ten minutes of my Thursday nights to overshadow the previous 4 hours. So in order to place this in perspective, I created a pillowcase. And on my pillowcase at home I have written the names of each individual child I have met at grace place. This way I am reminded to be continually grateful for the shelter, bed, and pillow that I have been blessed with.

Also, it is my constant reminder to pray for my homeless brothers and sisters. That no matter where they are, no matter what they are doing, that they are safe and know that someone, somewhere out, there truly cares.

During these ten minutes of uncomfortable closure is where I began to feel sorry for my family, get angry that they must fight to be safe, and find the world unfair. However, as I begin to dig deeper I find myself questioning, who truly are the blessed ones? Is it me? Or is it these kids, that through their struggles, through their heartache and misfortunes, they have overcome things which I could never imagine even facing.

They continue to be hopeful, each wanting something more from life. It is through their struggles they will conquer this world.

Thank you Grace Place, and all those who have made this possible for opening my eyes and allowing my life to be changed through the unexpected beauty I see in our world.

If you would like to volunteer for Montrose Grace Place please e-mail for more information and to fill out a volunteer application.

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