On the 9th of July 2018, I went on my first outreach for Diversity House in Faversham, Kent with my colleague Lynda. I was unsure of how it would go and how receptive the people in the town would be. We set out in the morning with all our leaflets and posters about Diversity House and the different events and clubs the organisation holds in the community.
Upon our arrival, I saw that people were streaming into the High Street to run their errands. When we got there, we parked the car and made our way to the High Street. We greeted passers-by good morning, smiling and asking if we could converse with them. We received various responses; some gestured to say they didn’t want any form of interaction; some said they were in a hurry; some people smiled back and greeted good morning back, and others took the time to listen to what Diversity House is all about and were willing to take a leaflet.
For an hour we strolled in the sunshine through the High Street trying to attract the public. I could sense the reluctance in some individuals as they gazed at us with the leaflets in our hands. It also felt weird being stared down by people as if we were intruders going past our territory. This posed two challenges; the first being an inner one. I had to stir up the courage to allow myself to be vulnerable so that I could talk to people even though they might not want to. The second was getting people to listen to us so we could inform them about the charity.
It was quite a unique experience, and I came to the realization that this is what charity and outreach work is all about. You must have the boldness and confidence to go out into the world to tell people about what you have to offer, despite the obstacles you might have to face. At the end of the day, the negative responses you get back have nothing to do with you, and are only reflections of who the people are. You just need to continue the good work.
Reflecting on this experience, we have decided to leave leaflets and posters in shops and re-strategize on how we approach and communicate with people.