Helping makes Shani smile

By ANESTA HENRY | Wed, January 23, 2013 – 12:01 AM

ALWAYS WEARING A serious face, 20-year-old Shani Beckles is one individual you are not likely to see smiling on an average day.

But at least one night a week a smile brightens her face.

This is on Thursday nights, when she is in the company of the members of Street Lamp Ministries feeding the homeless and vagrants in Heroes Square, The City.

Or, when she is volunteering with the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society.

“When I am volunteering at night or at any event concerning the vagrants and homeless, I feel good about myself. These were once people with an active life in society, but because of unfortunate situations they are living a life of despair.

“So when I am helping, they can see me not as a face but someone who actually cares about them. I am not usually one who smiles but seeing them smiling brings joy to my heart and a smile on my face automatically,” she said, during an interview with the MIDWEEK NATION last Thursday night as she carried out her duties in the square.

Beckles, a former head girl at Princess Margaret Secondary School, currently a student at the University of the West Indies, found herself a few years ago with the urge to give back to her community.

Already a member of the United Youth Leaders of Barbados, she wanted to become involved with charitable organizations whose work was hardly heard of.

“The first time I went to feed the homeless I was nervous because interacting with vagrants was not something I usually did. But then after I started interacting with and learning from other volunteers how to deal with these people I started to relax. They told me that the first time will always be nervous, but if I keep on coming things would get better,” the WEDNESDAY WOMAN explained.

Quenching her thirst and becoming involved with volunteer work is a decision Beckles says she will never regret.

She experiences an unexplainable joy knowing that her love for people has enabled her to feed the hungry. Now, she is even trying to get her family and friends involved.

“As a Christian this does impact on my decision. In The Bible it states, ‘do unto others as you will have them do unto to you’. This is my creed.

“Because they are homeless or on the streets does not mean they have to be treated as such, they are a part of God’s creation and should be treated as such,” preached the young woman.

And if she had things her way, Beckles would establish her own ministry that catered to the needy.

“I would not mind having my own ministry or organization but resources and finances are my greatest fall back at the present moment, but it is a plan in the making. As soon as I can get settled you never know. With God’s help he will guide me”.