“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I am disappointed with myself that I fall into the cliché of starting writings with the use of quotes. I tend to start there for inspiration and then feel that I cannot articulate my thoughts in a more beautiful way than that of the inspiration. I suppose that is how inspiration works. When a movement, act, or gesture transform a rigid thought pattern into something new and fresh—ready to move the inspired to take on the world with new gusto. That, I feel, is the key to staying true to the craft of kindness. I was taught early on to watch for and celebrate small victories—both in myself and clients.
I say “small” victories, but I feel that term is relative and unfair. It is easy to say that a single gear is inconsequential in worth but if that gear drives the machine of change then what more worth can it hope to possess? I find myself being inspired on a daily basis at work, and get to watch others become inspired by their own success as well. I have been witness to poor students become tutors, sheltered become leaders, and the voiceless become voices in the community. Every day I look past the droning of my computer and the glare of my screen and when I get to focus on the individual across from me, I feel fortunate that I get to experience these sparks of inspiration radiate from each resident and ripple through the community.
The concept of permanent supportive housing is no small dream. It is because of sound conviction and the belief that all have the ability to grow within their means that gave root to this movement. As a result, we have seen great reward so far. I don’t use the idea of inspiration lightly. The residents I share my days with provide me with a grand sense of hope. I learn more than I teach, and I listen more than I talk. I feel rewarded that I get to walk alongside these community members and become humbled by their strength. I see great resolve in all those around me. I hope that outsiders looking in get to see the same wonders that I get to experience and will help push this housing model further into the future so that they too can watch the formerly downtrodden begin to live to their true and full potentials.
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn.
Aaron Pryor has been a case coordinator with Aurora since May 2010, first on the Homeless Outreach Team and now at Vision 1505. He is a graduate of University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelors of Social Work. Aurora is Aaron’s first job as a Social Worker, but this employment is by no means his first encounter working with disadvantaged populations. He began volunteering with the Daniel Pitino Shelter in Owensboro, Kentucky at the young age of 12 and continued doing so off and on into his 20’s. He has also volunteered with Red Cross Disaster Relief and Ameri-Corps over the years. When he isn’t working hard, he is playing hard chasing the next ace in disc golf or chasing the heart of his beautiful wife, Jacey.