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Directing at a student-run shelter
Personal Development & Community

Why were you inspired to do this?

Community service was important to me in high school and I wanted to continue to keep it part of my life in college. However, I had mostly done tutoring and wanted to try something that would push my limits and challenge me. I had never worked at a homeless shelter before, and the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter particularly appealed to me because is the only student-run shelter in the country--I knew this was something amazing to be part of.

What were 3 things you did to make this happen?

Joined as a volunteer in fall of my freshman year--you can email to volunteer yourself!

Became a supervisor on the overnight shift in fall of '08.

Became Volunteer Director in spring of '08.

How did you feel once you had accomplished this?

The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter has been, hands-down, the most transformative experience of my college career. I feel so honored to have met the people I've met, both volunteers and guests. The shelter has pushed my thinking, forced me to grapple with difficult ethical dilemmas, taught me about mobilizing group efforts, and also taught me much about life. Each night we provide food and housing to 24 men and women, but sometimes I think that even though we're technically the ones "providing", we get just as much from the shelter if not more as volunteers. Highly recommend to anyone in the Cambridge area--this is a unique and life-changing experience. Visit or email for more info.

4/27/2016 3:21:06 PM

students dont tun they sleep bruh. they sleep alot......bruh

11/8/2011 1:46:23 PM

This is really cool.....many of us have volunteered at some point in our past, but life can "get in the way".   This is such an inspirational story - thx for sharing, and reminding me how important sticking with giving back to our communities is.

1/9/2011 7:14:35 AM

Congratulations, we have linked your story on the My Life List 90 (#2) to inspire others. Thank you so much for sharing this great story.

10/2/2010 12:35:23 PM

Amelia, this is a terrific achievement -- thank you for sharing it! Volunteerism was a big priority for me, too, when I was in school, so I totally understand how life-changing it feels. I hope others will take you up on your call to action! Great to have stories of this nature on the site. Send me an email:

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What three things will you need to make this happen?

What is the biggest barrier to your achieving this?