When the hazardous air quality from September’s California fires forced my community to stay inside,…
My name is Bianca Huerta and I am from the southeast side of Chicago. I attended Saint Xavier University, a Mercy college, and received my Bachelors in Clinical/ Counseling Psychology and Spanish for Social and Community Service.
Last year I served in Philadelphia, PA as a Patient Advocate at the Mary Howard Health Center for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. At the Mary Howard Health Center, everyday was a wonderful and challenging day in which I grew and learned more and more about myself and others. As a Patient Advocate, I helped patients learn more about preventative health screenings (i.e. colon cancer screening, breast cancer screening, etc.), assisted with organizing their medications for the week, traveled with them to their specialty appointments outside of Mary Howard, smiled/ laughed/ talked with them and most importantly asked them what their favorite things in life were because I wanted to know them. It was also fun organizing and bring to life Mary Howard’s first and second ever clothing boutique during the winter and spring seasons.
I decided to serve with Mercy Volunteer Corps for a second year because something inside of me had a calling to continue on this path to walk with those in the margins. I was encouraged to do a second year by my inspiring and compassionate coworkers at Mary Howard. Then, I talked to my mother about doing a second year of service (my mom being the one who did not want me to leave home in the first place). After talking to my mom, it helped me to make a solid decision; she said that if I felt “called to do it” than I should do it. What a grand call! Then, I decided San Francisco because of Faithful Fools Street Ministry. As soon as I read their mission statement, my heart jumped. “We are called to a ministry of presence that acknowledges each human’s incredible worth. Aware of our judgments, we seek to meet people where they are through the Arts, Education, Advocacy, and Accompaniment…” I explored the website and I became more excited.
Now, I am here. I am in Tenderloin, San Francisco, CA. I guess it does not get more real than this. I am now a Faithful Fool and becoming a “Juggler,” balancing and being present to those who walk in our home, while wearing a red nose here and there. “…We participate in shattering myths about those living in poverty, seeing the light, courage, intelligence, strength, and creativity of the people we encounter. We discover on the streets our common humanity through which celebration, community, and healing occur.” …What a privilege it is to have this experience with Mercy Volunteer Corps and I thank the MVC staff for accepting my application after it’s due date and showing me love. I want to thank Carmen and Sam from Faithful Fools, especially Mary for joining me today. I want to thank everybody in this room and last but not least, I want to thank Lauren for being an awesome community member sharing this volunteer experience. Thank you, thank you and thank you.
Bianca Huerta: Faithful Fools, San Francisco, CA
Speech written for Celebration of Mercy in Burlingame, CA on October 8, 2015