invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 1,700,000 kids are without homes. H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S Kids. I don't get it. Are we willing to discard these kids? Not me. So this blog will relentlessly focus on this issue, hoping to light a spark to fuel a compassion epidemic. Chime in, argue, but do something....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lost and Forgotten: Income-Challenged Families In America


Lost and Forgotten: an appropriate reference for this neglected blog. Sorry I've been MIA for a while, but I haven't been sitting under a rock. In fact, 2 major events have grasped my time and taught me invaluable lessons in the process.
  1. Death of my Mom, Ellie Nilan. On May 9 I received the call that she had quickly and unexpectedly passed away. Ellie was a treat! And she lived life to the full. Her 93rd birthday, on the first day of Summer, approached, but she didn't make it. Ellie was an ardent supporter of HEAR US, and she was an essential part of my life. Our daily 8:45 a.m. calls were our touchstone. I find myself looking at the clock, reaching for my phone...and recalling she's "in the next room" as the What Is Death? meditation reminds us. To continue her generous legacy, the Ellie Nilan Memorial Fund was established by HEAR US. Among other things, her death and dealing with the aftermath, gives me new appreciation for those who struggle with loss.
  2. My trip to Tanzania, Africa. A planned trip, my "vacation" so to speak, for 3 weeks in June. I'm part of a nonprofit organization Friends of Imiliwaha NFP. We develop support for a specific educational effort and medical project. Three of us went to see what things looked like on the ground. I've never crossed the Atlantic, so this was an eye-opening trip! And contrary to my little imagination, Tanzania is beautiful! Here's a 5-min video I made showing the school we're supporting. And I penned/typed a blog for AlterNet on our visit vs. President Obama's trip a couple weeks after.
That being said, Lost and Forgotten means much more. It reflects how abysmally this country's leaders are treating the families and individuals on the bottom of the economic ladder. Case in point: the recent slash and burn of food assistance, aka SNAP or food stamps, in Congress. Poor families don't need food. Rich farmers need federal support, billions. Uh huh.

Lost and Forgotten formerly middle-class families got a great visibility boost in the recent PBS film Two American Families. In an unprecedented (at least to my knowledge) look at a 22-year span at the same 2 families, we witnessed the unraveling of their lives as their union jobs fall by the wayside and they struggle to survive. 

Bill Moyers and Company did a fantastic job on this film. But it was ugly. I expressed my feelings about the film in my AlterNet blog, asking the question: How Far Is Your Family From Homelessness? 

Sometimes I feel the frustration of "just" blogging when so much more needs to be done. But if enough people see my blog, watch the film, and contact their elected officials or at least clue-in their neighbors and coworkers, some good will occur. 

Don't know if I was in the Lost and Forgotten category that I'd be satisfied with "some good," which takes me back to my frustration. 

HEAR US has begun our astounding 9th year July 1, 2013. In my wildest dreams I never imagined I'd be sitting here typing those words. HEAR US began out of my frustration--knowing that homeless families and youth populations were skyrocketing at an unprecedented level, but most people didn't even know it was a problem. 

We all can make the world a better place. HEAR US, and my related activities, is my attempt to ease the suffering of the Lost and Forgotten. I'm asking you to at least watch the (free, available online) Two American Families documentary. You'll recognize families you know and love in these stories. If more would watch and learn of others' sufferings...well, I'd like to believe we'd have less Lost and Forgotten. Then I could go MIA and no one would miss me.

P.S. If you read this far and found this worthwhile, please fling it around--Facebook, wherever. Thanks!