Posts Tagged ‘Homelessness’

According to google, the word opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something“. Last week, I had an incredible opportunity to share about the opportunities I’ve received and open up opportunities for others to join in order to create opportunities for still others to have an easier time of transition and ultimately a better life. …I know, I know, that’s all jumbled and confusing and I used the word ‘opportunity‘ too many times, but it’s true! Let me break it down for you…
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Photo Credit: Commissioner Mike Pipe
Last week I had the chance to share about Building Hope (the mentoring program I helped create) at a Mokita Dialogue on prison systems. The Mokita Dialogue was an event put on by the Jana Marie Foundation and hosted by New Leaf Initiative. They have discussions every month about important topics that need to be talked about, but that people don’t really like to talk about. For example, mental health, homelessness, prison system… not easy topics, but necessary.
So at the prison system talk, about 50 people gathered in room to acknowledge issues, and dream of change. The exciting thing is we didn’t just dream and be on our way, we then got to share tangible ideas, inspire those in the room with the capacity to take action, and invite people into what’s already being done. Several people came to chat with me after to learn more about what it looks like to be a mentor. I don’t know if they will sign up, but I hope and pray they will. It doesn’t take much to believe in someone and help them to learn they are valuable just because they are alive. To show that a prison system doesn’t define our humanity. To sip coffee in the sunshine while exchanging work stories. It doesn’t take much to spend an hour a week with someone, but to that someone it just might mean the world.
If you’re a local and interested in becoming a mentor, please reach out to me, or follow this link to apply!
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Last week Hearts for Homeless put on a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and I was helping out with it. I went shopping for some of the food on “adventure night” (aka babysitting night) when I had my sweet littles with me. The girls were champs as we went to store after store gathering different items that had been donated, and trying to do the math of how many boxes of pasta it would take to feed the unknown amount of people who would be coming… (we didn’t get enough – hooray for an awesome turn out!)

Anna was especially excited when I told her we would be shopping for pasta, it’s a photo-47favorite of hers. But then I followed it up with the fact that it wasn’t for us. I explained that it was for a fundraiser for my friends without houses. One thing I love about living with this family is that I get to see the world through little eyes. Though they are young, my sweet littles know there are people just like them who don’t have homes. They already know it’s a problem, and they know that it’s so much more than just a problem…these are people. They’ve met many of them, and anytime they hear about homelessness they come running over to tell me, because they assume it’s one of my friends.

But this day stood out to me because we weren’t talking about homelessness. We were shopping and having a grand adventure and out of the blue Anna said quietly, “Shelby, will you tell me the next time you need money for your friends without houses, because I have some in my bank.” This is generosity at its finest.

photo-46I think as grownups we so often look at the whole problem and try to come up with an answer that solves every little piece which is a good thing…we want to solve every little piece…but it also takes the faith of a child to step up and say, I don’t have much, but there are coins in my piggy bank, and I believe that we can change the world with that. I believe I can help those around me with my little bit…her coins will never reach the homeless across the world, but they can have a big impact on a life here in State College, even if it’s just a cup of coffee. Her sweet heart reminds me of the little boy mentioned in the Bible in John 6:9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” …if you don’t know the story look it up, but here’s a spoiler…that lunch fed thousands! And it continues to have an impact on many lives to this day.

If you can’t offer much, give what you have. That could be time, money, a meal, a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement. There are people all around who can use the great things you have to share. Lets love like littles do and overcome our big world problems day by day,  one step at a time.