“I had an alternative sentencing from the Sacramento Court for an expired registration. Instead of paying the fine, they gave me 10 hours of community service. The court handed me a list of all of the different places to choose from, and I chose the closest one to my house… Saint John’s.” Little did Joe know that he would continue to volunteer at Saint John’s for the next 11 years!
“I was so irritated about having to complete community service hours! I didn’t want to pay a fine OR do volunteer hours,” shares Joe. The first time Joe volunteered at Saint John’s, he was resistant. He had little knowledge of the program and figured since he paid a fine to the Court, he shouldn’t have to do community service.
Now, Joe says, “I’ve been coming to Saint John’s for 11 years. I was so resistant the first time I came… then the second time, something just clicked. A light bulb went off and my faith took me forward. I’ve been volunteering here ever since.”
Joe felt like he could relate to the women and children living at Saint John’s. Growing up, his family didn’t have much to spare.
“I didn’t have a lot of faith or hope when I was young. My family was poor. I remember having to go down to the local park where volunteers would donate boxed lunches. They would be serving the food and they were so kind… we would leave there happy.”
Joe has attended and participated in many Saint John’s events throughout his 11 volunteer years, including dressing up as Santa for the children on Christmas morning.
“We always have fun on Christmas… We have to find a way to hide my tattoos, because you know, Santa doesn’t have tattoos!”
Joe’s favorite part of Saint John’s is interacting with the residents and helping them stay positive.
“It brings me joy to give back what was given to me. I love the staff and the women and children. It feels like family.”
Joe has started two volunteer groups at Anthem Blue Cross, where he works, and serves dinner every Thursday night to the women and children of Saint John’s. You can find Joe this Christmas putting smiles on the faces of over 200 women and their children at Saint John’s! Thank you, Joe!