From my heart, this path begins. I want to speak to you. I want you to open your eyes and listen with your heart, Please*
First, I am going to toss some questions at you, o.k; here we go:
- What do you think of when you think of a homeless person?
- How many men, women and children are homeless in your community, county, city or state?
- Do you see homeless people every day, once in a while, never?
- Do you care about the homeless?
- If you see a homeless person on your way to school, work, or any other activity, do you look at him or her or do you look the other way?
- Why do you think I am asking you these questions?
Every single solitary day as I walk to work in NYC, I see homeless men and women. Please take a moment to preview the images I have uploaded to this site for you. These are photos I took during only 3 days of travels in the city to work. I walk from East 89th street and Third ave to 12th street and Ave A. What do I think of when I think of a homeless person, I think of this person as an infant, toddler, teen etc. and I know that no matter what choices this person made, this is not the path he or she would have chosen to live on. Can we agree on that? It doesn’t matter then if this person made bad choices, or still continues to make bad choices, he or she is still homeless. Does anyone anywhere deserve to be homeless? If you answered yes then you might need to leave this site or maybe, just maybe if you listen with your heart, you might open your eyes, even a little will help.
On these same days that I walk to work,(I am an ELA Middle & High School teacher for the NYC Board of Education) I see often the same homeless person and then I see more, every single day…the same and more. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even breathe because of what I am seeing and feeling all at the same time. I have to force myself to move on, to keep going, to believe I can…never ever allowing any breath I take to be the one that says I can’t.
Can I help a homeless person? Sure I might give them some change or dollars or even more. I might smile, say good morning, wish them blessings…and then as I go on my way I think only 2 thoughts. The first is yes I can, I can keep going because I have to. The second is I can’t help them, I don’t know how…and I am breathless. Why does any person have to be homeless? I have had it with those thoughts. I don’t understand why I can’t help? Why does any person ever have to spend one singe solitary day or night on the streets? Does that make any sense to you? Why can’t we help?? Some of the photos you just surveyed are of homeless people within one or two blocks from the United Nations! Another one is of a homeless man directly across the street from NYU Langone Hospital! Does that sit right with you? Does that make any sense at all?
This is where I tell you my little idea and plan. It’s not much but it is more than nothing and then together who knows where we might go from there.
I think that if we could get as many people as possible to begin to open up their hearts and eyes to the plight of the homeless on their streets, maybe we can do something to help. Every year NYC hosts a marathon. Why can’t we have a marathon for the homeless and every person participating chooses one homeless person to try to help with the funds raised by donations to enter this marathon. Just think about it, what’s stopping you from thinking you can, we can…what do you mean you can’t or we can’t, we can and do you want to know why? We can because we have to and because we need to and because we want to, period. I’m thinking that the marathon could be open to any and all ages and abilities. We can run, walk, wheelchair, skateboard, bike, you think of it and we can do it. We can even divide the marathon up, so anyone who wants to help and join only has to travel as long as they are comfortable with. No distance is too small, every step will count. I think the most important part of our plan is to figure out how we can best help the homeless person we have chosen to help with the donations we raise by our own personal participation and challenge. We will ensure that every homeless person we have chosen to enter for has a name and a story and a face that everyone knows. What do you think? Can you please help me to make this happen? What did you say? I can’t? I don’t believe it, you can, I can, we can!!!