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Becoming a Fool

When first applying to the Mercy Volunteer Corps (MVC), I hadn’t the slightest clue which city I could see myself in for the next year of my life. I knew I wanted something new, exciting, and unlike anything I had experienced before in Rhode Island. When San Francisco was brought up by MVC staff during the application process, it weighed heavily on my heart immediately. Somehow I knew San Francisco was where I would be spending my year. It was after this decision that the Faithful Fools were first brought to my attention and seemed like a match from the start. The Fools mission statement resonated with me: “To acknowledge each human’s incredible worth by being aware of our own judgments. Faithful Fools reaches people by shattering myths about those living in poverty through the arts, education, advocacy, and accompaniment.”

I was drawn to the Fools immediately in that idea about acknowledging each human’s incredible worth and being aware of our judgments. In only a few weeks my eyes have been opened and my heart has been expanded as I become more and more aware of my own judgments and perceptions, and have come to better understand the reality of those who call the Tenderloin home. I have seen the beauty of this neighborhood and have already gotten to know many passionate individuals who strive to make their home a better place for everyone.

 My expectations coming in, and the judgments and perceptions others have shared with me, have been squashed. I have encountered so many new people I wouldn’t have the chance to know in any other city.

 I have quickly and gracefully been accepted into this vibrant neighborhood as one of the Fools, and I am starting to see how important a title this is. A Fool is not just one who works or lives in the big purple building, but it is someone who takes on the world with a passion and urgency for justice, shares love at every opportunity, and never lets themselves get in the way by taking themselves too seriously. A Fool is one who cares deeply and listens carefully. I am impressed with how open each Fool and every friend of Fools has been since my arrival, and how much they have truly made me feel at home in this brand new big city.

Jolie Slater: Faithful Fools, San Francisco

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