By Nathan Omasta, Child Partial Hospitalization Program
On an August afternoon, Tom Shank, a milieu therapist within the Child Partial Hospital Program (C-PHP) at Reedsdale Center, was outside of the building accompanying children waiting to be picked up by parents at the end of the day.
Tom noticed a man walking toward the entrance who appeared confused and somewhat scared. Tom greeted the man and asked if he needed help finding the location of his appointment. The man explained that he was given information that a homeless shelter was at Reedsdale Center and that he had walked there (in the rain).
Tom explained that while Pittsburgh Mercy provides human services, a homeless shelter is not located within Reedsdale Center. The man sat down on the steps, seeming worried, confused, and generally unsure of how to proceed. Tom spoke with the man, who showed Tom a paper of where he was trying to go. Tom knew where it was located (also on the North Side).
Looking at the map Tom saw the location was a 30-plus minute walk and realized that the rain was increasing. As his shift was over and all the kids had been picked up, Tom told the man he would personally drive him to the shelter location.
Tom used his personal vehicle to escort the man to his destination and he was dropped off there successfully. Tom did not go around telling everybody this was what he was doing – he simply told a couple of colleagues quietly so that they were aware of why he was taking this man in his vehicle.
Tom wasn’t seeking praise or acknowledgment.
He was simply helping a person in need and, he emphasized, just doing what is right to help others.