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Motivation in a Homeless Shelter

Motivation in a Homeless Shelter

A homeless shelter.
A homeless shelter.

When I heard about Samantha Garvey, a 17-year-old from Brentwood, Long Island, who has been named a semifinalist in the national Intel Science Talent Search, I literally had to pull over to the side of the road. For starters, when good news is deemed newsworthy, I pay heed. But this story in particular moved me deeply.

As I listened to the interview, I heard Ms. Garvey say, “I don’t have a great home life; I don’t have a home. I’m living in a shelter. But I think that motivates me to do the work I do. I want a better life. I want to have a home. I want to show other people that even though you’re going through something bad, there’s a better side to everything.”

Incredible. She is mature beyond her years!

Samantha is an inspiration. She motivates us to take a good look at our own reactions to life’s challenges:

When I heard about Samantha Garvey, who has been named a semifinalist in the national Intel Science Talent Search, I literally had to pull over to the side of the road . . . Do we despair and crumble in the face of difficulty, complaining, “Why me?”

Wrong response.

Do we drag through the day, doing what we have to do, begrudgingly accepting our struggles and endeavoring to succeed in spite of them?

That’s much better, but still not ideal.

Rather than succeeding in spite of our challenges, Samantha inspires us to succeed because of them.

Samantha Garvey in her school’s science lab.
Samantha Garvey in her school’s science lab.
Our difficulties are gifts from G‑d, tailor-made for each of us individually in order to bring out our best juices. We need to try and embrace life’s challenges, and use them to reach greater heights and achieve our true potential (which for most of us is far more than we might ever imagine).

The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, once wrote to a floundering philanthropist, “A temporary setback is just what is needed for the resumption of the advance with greater vigor, as in the case of an athlete having to negotiate a hurdle, when stepping back is the means to a higher leap.”1

Try this train of thought the next time personal challenges come your way. It may be job loss, health problems, a difficult relationship, a miserable childhood, etc. Whatever the case, try to use your difficulties as a springboard to accomplish things you never imagined possible.

Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel is executive director of Chabad of Port Washington.
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noor June 11, 2014

sad sad story................ Reply

Anonymous USA April 3, 2013

Once Homeless now Helpfull No matter what brings us to the place of "Homelessness" We must keep our faith in the fact that every thing happens has a purpose and reason leading to a better or worse homelessness was by choice I knew at the time that I had to leave a negative place a very spiritually draining place so I sold the only gold I had got a whole 26 dollars for it and packed my bag and got on a bus from there one person after another helped me I really didn't beg I just told the truth to people that I met along the way and there response was a miracle one after another like links in a chain I eventually stayed in a shelter for women and met my late husband we started to study Torah together and keeping Shabbot also as money came in we took 10 percent and bought food for a homeless shelter and also found out that some of the people in our apartment complex were in need of meals so we made and delivered on a daily bases meals and kind conversation and an open door on Shabbot Baruch Hashem Nachon! Reply

Adam Neira Paris, France February 29, 2012

The Scourge Prayers for all homeless people in the world. Homelessness is a scourge.

You can judge a community or nation by how well it treats its most disadvantaged. Take any national leader out of his comfort zone and place him in a homeless position and see how well he survives. The reason I love Joseph and Moses so much is that they were left for dead and had to survive in inhospitable climates. A BBC documentary shown a few years ago depicted some South Pacific Islanders from an island near Papua New Guinea who were transported to the streets of London. They had real trouble understanding the homeless people's plight that they witnessed in the street. On their island a person who had suffered a fall was always helped in some way. The islanders also had a strong sense of civic concern and those members who were lazy, ungrateful, sinful or non-contributing were dealt with accordingly.

MOTS (Moral of the story)...We can learn from many cultures. Reply

james Kansas city, Ks-usa February 24, 2012

shelters I've been to shelters in st. louis/Kansas city,
it is way better to sleep beside very noisy train tracks[plural]!!!even in snow/rain/winter/summer!!!!!! Reply

What's the latest news? For that information, check your local or national news outlet. In this blog we will discuss the "why?"

Not "why did this event occur?" but "why did I find out about it?" There must be a reason. It must contain a lesson I can use to better myself and my surroundings. Together we will find the lessons...
Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel is executive director of Chabad of Port Washington.
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