By Monique Sandhu

Rising Star native Melody Simon says that “volunteering feeds the soul” and lives out this notion with Front Steps at the ARCH. Coming from such a small town, she was anxious to get out and live in Austin. She attends UT and when she is not in school, she spends her time at the ARCH volunteering in various ways, from the hygiene desk to the dinner serving teams. She is also a Volunteer Leader and leads monthly volunteer orientations as well as attends monthly meetings to plan and discuss projects.

Melody grew up in a household where chaos was prevalent and resources were scarce. Melody said, “I know first-hand that there are little-to-no safety nets in this country when bad times occur.” Her reaction was to turn towards Front Steps as a volunteer to help with the homeless population in a hands-on manner. Melody has volunteered with other organizations but she continues as a strong volunteer with Front Steps because “she believes 100% in their philosophy, and approach, towards the homeless.”

When one volunteers continuously with a certain place, building relationships is inevitable. Melody mainly volunteers with her brother David Fisher but has also become friends with her fellow volunteer leaders. She also has a close relationship with Dawn Perkins, Front Steps’ Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator.

Homelessness is an issue that is close to Melody’s heart. She feels very passionately about America renewing their view on the homeless population. She feels that homelessness has been criminalized and that this skews the perception that so many people towards those who are homeless. Melody says, “I routinely tell people that there are plenty of homeless people who have jobs and contribute to society, but just don’t make enough to support their housing requirements – a true living wage and affordable cost of housing are things that people don’t always factor in to the homeless equation, and once you explain it to them, their attitudes begin to change.” She believes if people changed their attitude about the homeless, a change for the better would occur.

Melody pours her heart into volunteering with Front Steps. Her personality is what makes her one of Front Steps most passionate volunteers. Some unique things about Melody include that she tried out for Jeopardy in high school, she is very politically aware and interested, and she loves making puns.

Front Steps is thankful for Melody because she is incredibly dedicated to the cause of helping those who are homeless find a pathway home, and is one of the most genuine and passionate people we know. We are thrilled to have her on our team! Front Steps congratulates Melody as the June Volunteer of the Month!