Nine-year-old Natasha Theusch is proof that anyone, at any age, can make a difference. Natasha and her mother, Amy, are members of Central Reform Congregation (CRC), which has served as a Room at the Inn night site since 2010. Natasha told her mother she wanted to something for tikkun olam. Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world” (or “healing the world”) which suggests it is humanity’s shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world.
“Natasha said to me one day, ‘All the grown-ups get to help people, but what can kids do?’” recalls Amy. “Together, we looked at CRC’s website to learn about the organizations where we were involved. When we visited Room at the Inn’s website and saw who they helped, we knew it was the one.”
Natasha decided to take up a collection for Room by going door to door around her neighborhood. She spent an entire evening decorating a special shoebox for the donations. Amy prepared bullet points for Natasha to take with her that explained Room’s mission and who they serve. Natasha went out after school to collect the donations.
“It made me feel good to help other people,” says Natasha proudly. “You feel good about yourself when you can do something for someone else.”
Instead of mailing in the donation, Natasha wanted to give the money in person to the shelter. Program Director Valorie Ferlis was excited about meeting Natasha and showing her what Room does.
“I took Natasha and her mom on a brief tour of the facility so she could see what her donation would be used for,” says Val. “Since she was able to visit us in the afternoon, she could also see what the families do as they prepare to go to night sites like CRC. We are all so grateful and proud of Natasha for being such a wonderful example of how someone can live out their faith and help their community.”
Natasha is also considering volunteering at CRC during one of their night site evenings.
“I learned there are things kids can do to help other kids who are homeless,” says Natasha. “I can play with the younger kids, help them with their homework or just hang out with them.”
We thank Natasha and her mother, Amy, for supporting Room at the Inn. If you are inspired by Natasha’s story and would like to volunteer at the day site or at any of our night site congregations, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Matthew at 314-209-9198 x110.