When I need that extra boost of determination and focus to face the dragons of this world, I can get it by recalling my little friends pictured above. I met Destiny, Tiffany and Amanda in Reno, where they have no real family shelter--just "roller beds" parked in a church site that rotated weekly. The family couldn't hold onto the motel they were staying in so they hit the church-shelter, but were asked to leave because of some problem with one of the other families. They were sent off to CA on a 14-hour bus ride to stay with someone supposedly willing to take in the girls, their baby sister and mom.
My Own Four Walls was a brilliant name for the HEAR US documentary (DVD). It points to the value of what we take for granted--our own place to live. Probably most people who read this blog have not only a computer to connect you to the immense Internet world, but also have your own four walls.
As much as we'd like to think everyone has at least a humble place to call home, sorry, that's not the case. And maybe later blogs will dwell upon causes, effects, cures...but for now I want to ask you to picture the face of a homeless kid who touched your life. Got it?
If you haven't had the pleasure of getting to know at least one kid without a home, let me share some of the faces of kids I've met along my HEAR US sojourn. Jose (left) captured my heart during my visit to central PA. His family bounced in and out of homelessness--staying with family and friends and in/out of shelters, but fortunately he enjoyed school stability thanks to caring McKinney-Vento liaisons.
Tommy and his family called motels home for longer than he cared to talk about. His parents tried to make things work--both held low-paying jobs that barely added up to enough to stay in cheap motels. The mobility and the pressures of high school weighed heavily on Tommy. His McK-V liaison was there to pick up the pieces when the family's short-lived stint in their own apartment fell apart.
Cody pretty well had it with staying with other families by the time I interviewed her. Homeless thanks to Hurricane Rita, she and her siblings found out that the home they had taken for granted was much better than sharing space with another family. She ached with impatience for the process of getting her own four walls.
OK, now that you have a name and a face of a kid without a place to call home...would you be willing to help that kid?
No money required--just a phone call or a fax on MONDAY, JULY 14--to your Member of Congress to urge the House Financial Services Committee to make the right decisions to help homeless kids. It's a big vote--but most of them probably don't know it.
If you're willing to make the call CLICK HERE for simple instructions and more information.
Then, next time you stare at your own four walls, think about "your" kid that your phone call helped get closer to getting their own four walls. And smile....
Seems to me that the issue of families and teens on their own having their own four walls should at least get the amount of attention Congress gave the baseball steroid issue.