By: Feli Sebastian
I didn’t want to throw my sneakers because I feel like I’m throwing away a piece of me. But they were in such bad condition I had no choice. As a compromise, I took a picture of them and included them in my album of “Unforgettables”. Why was I hesitant to discard them? They’re dirty and ugly-looking. Yes, they are but they hold a special part in my heart. I wore these sneakers for 3 years as I helped renovate the Labyrinth House/Outreach (now under the YWCA). They helped me climb the ladder so I can retouch a spot on the ceiling of the apartment. They bent as I knelt to remove the hundreds of staplers on the floor and as I laid out the tiles and hard wood floorings. I walked on them as I carried construction supplies and small appliances between the apartment and the house. They cushioned my feet against the hammer or screwdriver when I accidentally dropped them. They wallowed in the mud as I helped landscape the backyard. They absorbed all the dust and dirt as I knock down walls. They got drops of paints and stains, as I painted and stained the wall, doors, and windows. They brought me to church every morning before reporting for volunteer. At the end of the day, they brought me home to rest and recover for the next day’s work.
My sneakers witnessed a lot of things as I joined so many volunteers who believed and cared for the formerly incarcerated women to have a safe place to live and to rebuild their lives.