The OCP Blog

Featured Volunteer of the Month: Kevin Waters

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” -Frederick Douglass

Due to the many ways that our featured volunteer of the month, Mr. Kevin Waters, has shown a spirit of volunteerism, it took some time to find words for how valuable Mr. Waters has been to our organization since the first day he set foot in our lives.

Ten days after his birth in Los Angeles, CA, Mr. Waters’ biological parents gave him up for adoption. To this day, he has not been able to find his real parents. He went on to tell me that in the 60s, biological parents were not permitted to exchange personal information with adoptive parents. This made it impossible for adopted children to figure out their biological parents’ identities. (“At least mine didn’t care to be found,” he mentioned.)

Being the only child of his adoptive parents, Mr. Kevin Waters had everything he wanted and better yet, as he called it, a normal childhood.  “My parents wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor, but I wanted to be a motorcyclist or be in a band, and that did not sit well with them,” Mr. Waters stated. Struggling to fit in, he started to consume alcohol excessively in middle school and attracted a certain kind of friends. That effort to fit in by using substances led Mr. Kevin Waters into a downward spiral, including losing his job and later losing the only woman who never hurt him. “When I met my wife, I was still drinking, and I could have been a better man,” our feature volunteer of the month stated. “I was stuck in my own head and it took her passing away after only three years of marriage for me to open my eyes,” Mr. Waters mentioned. “We never had the chance even to have kids.”

Like many of our community members, Mr. Kevin Waters heard about Our Community Place from Open Doors, an emergency shelter for individuals who have experienced homelessness here in Harrisonburg. The first time that he set foot in OCP, his intention was to fit in. “Your explanation that most people who come to OCP share some similarities of adverse experiences made me feel at peace,” our featured volunteer of the month mentioned. “I needed to feel needed, appreciated, loved, and acknowledged, and OCP gave me that.” His desire to help out in the kitchen or in our garden is intense. Being from Los Angeles and having lived in West Virginia, our featured volunteer of the month has found a place he can call home: “OCP is that place I can feel like it’s okay to be myself.”

Leons Kabongo

Programming & Activities Coordinator