To Our Volunteers, We Thank You
Nail Day has been happening for eight years. Some of you may know that it started with two brave and wild-thinking YWAM staffers who pulled a table and two chairs out onto the street and started offering manicures. This was before BJM was officially created, before the Well was built, and before anyone besides Justine and Ruthie were even here. It was so well -received that they started doing it as part of the Restoration Initiative’s drop-in center. Imagine a huge room filled with homeless men playing pool, all sorts of noise coming in from the street, and a little table in the corner where women were getting manicures, attempting to achieve tranquility. This clearly would not do. The decision was made to turn Monday afternoon into a women’s only event.
Women began to come. It was always a challenge to get enough volunteers. Nearly every week the team looked different. During this past year, our leadership decided to make it a priority to build a consistent team of volunteers. This was no small feat. It meant that when short-term teams came we didn’t ask them to volunteer for a single Monday. Instead we focused our energy on nurturing a team of volunteers. Janet Lee, our volunteer coordinator, was the real driving force behind this. She was the one who took on the difficult task of biting the bullet and turning people away. When we had short-term teams, God was really present in it and it mostly turned out ok. God gave us grace in that situation of intense turnover. However, this tumultuousness only reinforces the experience that our women have over and over again. People come and do things that feel token and then they never come back. It was time to make a change.
It started so slowly. A woman named Rhonda from EPIC church caught the vision to create a small group of women interested in supporting BJM. Women from groups at Reality, Cornerstone, Revive SF and Lighthouse slowly began to trickle in, creating a committed body of volunteers for whom BJM was an important ministry in their lives. Some women come once a week, some once a month, and some are involved in ministries beyond Nail Day, but there is regularity to their commitment. We no longer need to adjust to a new team and conduct an orientation every week. Now the women who come to get manicures are able to create relationships with volunteers.
The best gifts we receive are gifts of real commitment. One woman adds time to her workweek every week in order to take Monday afternoons off. Self–employed women arrange their work schedules in order to leave in time to set up for Nail Day by 1 p.m. One woman applying for jobs kept telling employers “yes, but I can’t do Monday afternoons!” One volunteer, when speaking of grad school, work options, and her life in general, said, “I look at my life and realize that the important pieces of the puzzle are in place now. I have good relationships. I have a church and a community group that are important to me. I have BJM.”
In a list of the important pieces of her life, she included BJM. That is such an honor. This is what it has means for us to have such generous and gracious volunteers – we get to be a part of the puzzle of meaning in their lives.
These volunteers have transformed Nail Day into an even more powerful outreach.
We are so grateful for them.