Valentine’s Day of Compassion (VDOC) is a tradition that started back at our Gracepoint church in Berkeley to give back and share God’s love at different convalescent homes, rehab centers, and women shelters. Through our annual VDOC event, we hope to share messages from the Bible, connect and have conversations with these individuals, and show them the kind of love that society has often neglected on this day.
This Valentine’s Day, our brothers and sisters at A2F Seattle fanned out to different locations (the freshmen and seniors went to a nursing home, while the juniors visited a women’s shelter). For the women’s shelter, the junior class prepared a brief student-led message, a magic trick, and arts and crafts supplies for the children.
While playing with doh and paint, one of the kids was loud and reluctant to share his supplies. We later learned that he is one of five children supported by a single mother. Although it saddened us to see how deprived the children at the shelter are of love, they and their mothers are grateful to be able to heal and rebuild their lives after seeing so much violence in their past. The shelter is their home, a safe space for them to heal the brokenness and find peace with their new family. For us, the chance to show love in a different and more wholesome way on Valentine’s Day was undoubtedly a humbling experience.
The junior students and staff got to sit down with some of the women at the shelter and listen to their stories. The stories that these women shared were raw, genuine, and showed how much these women had to push through despite all the struggles and violence that life throws at them. One women shared that she is ready to leave the horrors of her past behind, and that the support of the shelter helped her move on to a new chapter of her life. These women demonstrated strength and resilience, and since it was many students’ first time visiting a women’s shelter, it was an eye opening moment to step outside the college bubble and connect with someone so different than us.