Guidance Providing Society
Last week, while dutifully spending my daily, very committed, hour to Facebook, I came across a video on the Elephant Journals feed. I watched the video last week but it has been stuck in my mind since. Maybe it is due to the fact we work with homeless children on a weekly basis. Whatever the reason- I was moved.
I strongly encourage you to watch the film. It is an inspiring, beautiful story that should be shared. It helps me to remember that despite there being bad in this world there is also good.
Shalla Monteiro who took the time to befriend a homeless man, Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho , showed true courage and warm hearted kindness for this man. She had the courage to step back from societies conforming ideals. How many people would take the time out of their day to talk to someone who is considered below them on societies economic ladder and appears to have absolutely nothing to offer them?? Time is money in today’s world and I think many of us wouldn’t have stopped to share precious minutes with this homeless man. Do I think we are unkind? No. The world is full of kind, generous people but due to the stigma placed around homeless people, we are afraid to even acknowledge or interact with someone who lives on the streets. What we forget is that man and/or woman on the street is a person. A person with talents and a story to share.
Every person has a story…a past that has gotten them to where they are at this present moment. Some people’s paths may seem very windy with a lot of dead ends. They may have taken some wrong turns that led them to the road they are on now. Just because we hit one road block doesn’t mean there isn’t another route. Although if we are in an unfamiliar area, we may need assistance. We need guided by someone or something that is familiar with that territory. We depend on and trust our GPS to take us everywhere in life. Why do we put our confidence in technology but not each other?
The example of being lost is very applicable to life. Instead of relying on a GPS to tell us the turn by turns, what if as a society we offer guidance to each other in life? Our paths might not be known or traveled by us however, a stranger may have had a similar struggle and can offer guidance out of the dead end. None of us have the exact same life but two people may have traveled down similar paths at one time. You may have taken the right turn and they took the wrong turn…
As an organization, we get to work with children who have ended up on a windy road due to the circumstances that life has presented them in. Without guidance, these children are headed for an arduous road ahead. If they are lucky they will meet someone like Shalla Monteiro who will help put their path on track. Lost children may become lost men and women.
The statistics on homeless youth are heart-breaking:
The percentage of homeless youth in the United States has increased by 10% in the last year.
There are a reported 1.1 million children homeless children in the United States. Many cases go under the radar and are not included in this astounding number.
In Pennsylvania, there were 19,905 youth reported homeless in 2013.
There are 2500 homeless children reported in Allegheny County.
Within Allegheny County there are 27 homeless shelters.
Homeless children are 60% more likely to drop out of school.
Guiding our homelessness youth to choose different routes for their future is instrumental in decreasing the chance of them being homeless adults. WE all have something to share to help others. Instead of making assumptions about one another; Get to know each other. We might just learn something that helps us through this never ending road we call life. We need to stop judging and start helping. Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho has a story that got him to the point of homelessness. Maybe his situation could have been prevented had someone taken the time to see him as a person sooner. As a society wouldn’t you say we get multiple chances in love, friendship, health, employment- in LIFE? Let’s take a chance just as Shalla Monteiro did. We may uncover a beautiful story or help someone reach their final destination that took a wrong turn somewhere along their journey.
Did you enjoy this blog? Please comment and share this story with others. For opportunities to get involved with homeless youth in the Pittsburgh area e-mail our Volunteer and Program Coordinator, Michelle Messer, at MMesser@beverlysbirthdays.org. To learn more about Beverly’s Birthdays visit our website www.beverlysbirthdays.org.