Ain’t Nothin’ In This World For Free—Nov. Featured Urban Angels

By: Dawn Siddons

“I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed, there ain’t nothin’ in this world for free.” —Cage The Elephant.

withagratefulheartNothng is free. Not your favorite pair of TOMS, your holiday flavored latte from Starbucks, your friends or even your happiness. Everything has a wager and cost within our monetized lifestyles, interpersonal connections, and even personal understanding of self-fulfillment and happiness. The expenses can be green pieces of paper, investment of time and energy, and personal opinion of sacrifices. Everything has to be staked in someway to achieve a sense of purpose.

“Give of yourself and be grateful for what you have,” said Veronica Saltiel, an avid Wednesday night volunteer and one of this months feature volunteers.  Gratitude is a healthy feeling; unfortunately, it is a sentiment that can be overlooked by our busy lifestyles. It’s easy to get consumed in the grind of life but it is important to disconnect and share quality time with people. Social interaction can nurture emotional needs, inspire positive change, and provide a sense of belonging.

“Do as I do and not as I say,” said Saltiel. Commitment, loyalty, and a caring heart are three self-describing words Saltiel validates credibility for within the Urban Angels community. Volunteering close to two years Saltiel is a regular attendee and leader for Wednesday nights at the Salvation Army.

“Interacting with people that go to Urban Angels is my favorite part,” said Saltiel. One of the greatest moments Saltiel felt she experienced happened after serving a mother and her five children. Saltiel said when the family found a home she felt relief and gratified to have helped them along the way.

“In a society that has so much and is so rich, I feel like the volunteering that I am doing helps a little bit to alleviate poverty,” said Saltiel.

Inspired by her family, Saltiel said that they are always giving and helping others and that she always had great role models. Being happy and healthy are her life goals but it is also very important to Saltiel that she be a positive role model along the way. A proud mother of three, Saltiel said that she is grateful to have children doing well for themselves and was happy to share her youngest daughters success in attending Berkley.

“We are only two to three life decisions away from being homeless ourselves,” said Damien Osip, the second feature volunteer of the month. “And not necessarily because of bad choices.” Osip said that we all have choices and decisions to make and not all of them will be as successful as hoped. There is never a full guarantee for anything because life has curve balls.

“After volunteering and living dowtake for grantedntown I look at people on the streets differently, said Osip. “I am interested to know their life story and find what resources are out there for them.” Volunteering since April, Osip said it keeps him grounded and grateful as he is gains new perspective of life.

“I’m very fortunate,” said Osip as he explained all that he was grateful for—his family, friends, and the city he lives in. Osip said that anytime he wants to complain he remembers to be appreciative by realizing that the city of San Diego has a lot—e.g. clean water, great weather, and a great community. Osip said some countries don’t even have access to clean water or health systems. Osip said that whenever he finds himself peeved sitting in traffic on the drive home or complaining about trivial things such as finding the “right” shoes he remembers that he is living in San Diego and that he is fortunate to even have access to shoes. Things could be worse.

“Time is very valuable to me,” said Osip. “I believe in optimizing and utilizing my time to its greatest value. Seeking a good balance in enjoying what he does and spending time with those who matter is Osips desire in quality of life. Osip said he enjoys his job with Westfield Shopping Center as an Assistant General Manager but like to disconnect the career responsibilities and enjoys trying new restaurants, hanging with friends for beer or a hike, and hanging with his dogs.

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(Veronica Saltiel, left; Damien Osip, right)

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