May 14, 2010 Meatballs and Mission Statements
A few weeks ago, my colleague Mary Sullivan and I served dinner to a group of teenagers at the Larkin Street Youth Facility. It was an extraordinary experience in many ways. From the minute we walked in the door until the last meatball sub was served we felt a vibe – a good vibe. All around us were people helping other people and the energy in the air was palpable. The front door was open, the staff’s minds were open, and the kids were receiving all kinds of good energy, the kind of energy that helps you move beyond the street into a safer space.
It was a welcoming, nurturing space, with a sense of ease. Larkin Volunteer Manager Audrey Muntz greeted us and thanked us profusely for our simple dinner of meatball subs, salad and cupcakes. She shared Larkin’s mission with us, gave us a tour, and was incredibly thoughtful in the way she helped us understand and respect their work and the boundaries important to their mission. She wanted to make certain that we, too, were taken care of in the walls of Larkin Street Services. A part of me winced, thinking that I should have placed more care in the advance preparations – but thankfully my colleague and friend Mary Sullivan had prepared a homemade sauce inspired by an elderly North Beach neighbor while Nick Rossi’s wife (and chef) Tracy created the perfect cupcakes. Okay, I thought, let’s serve up the meatball subs.
Well, one by one, they disappeared with many requests for seconds and many thank yous in between. I walked out of there that night feeling so filled up – not from meatballs, but from the energy that came back to me and I am inspired to do more.
Thank you Larkin Street for the inspiration and the energy. You live your mission and your place exudes your mission.