May I first apologize for the running together of paragraphs. I type them with the proper amount of spacing, yet somehow BLOGSPOT runs them together, sometimes haphazardly as in this case. I know it makes it a bit more difficult to read and for that I apologize. I am trying to figure it out.
There haven't been that many blogs about the shelters lately and for that I am truly sorry. The thing of it is, since Sacramento, there have been only two shelters that have agreed to talk with us and I blogged about one of them yesterday.
So this morning, I think I will talk about you. The person reading this blog. I'd like to know what it means to you to follow this blog. Why do you follow it? Is it because you are a friend and want to know what's going on, how I am?
Are you someone I have met along the way? Have I somehow changed how you think about the homeless? Have I touched you enough that you have gone out and done something about it? Have you volunteered at a shelter? Taken a homeless person out to lunch? Secretly bought groceries for someone who is poor and left them on their doorstep? Have you sat down and talked to a homeless person?
Are you one of the many reporters that has interviewed me? How has this touched your life or have you just gone on your merry way and forgotten all about the crazy lady that sleeps in a van and talks to the homeless all day long?
Maybe you've taken the steps to befriend someone at your church or a neighbor who you know is struggling financially or otherwise. Perhaps you've made other changes that I haven't mentioned here.
I'd like to hear whether or not you agree or disagree with anything I've said. I'd like to know how you think about the homeless now compared to what you used to, and perhaps ideas on what you think I could be doing out here.
I'd like to hear these things. I need to hear these things. You see I am hooked. I can't just stop with these three states. I want to continue this through all 50 states. I may not walk every step of the way. I haven't walked every step of the way here. I have bypassed much of the rural communities so that I may spend more time in the cities where the homeless are in abundance and the shelter directors can use all the help they can get even if it is just someone to vent to.
This trip has been very taxing on me. Physically, emotionally and somewhat spiritually. But it's because of that spirituality, that strong faith in my Lord Jesus Christ, that I dare to hope that I can continue this. So I need to hear whether or not you believe this mission of mine is making a difference so I can make the decision as to whether or not to become an official non-profit. As an individual, I am not eligible for grants or scholarships. As a non-profit I would be.
If I am the only life this mission has made a difference in, then I will continue this journey, going to as many states as possible without the blogs, without the van. Just me and a back pack and a sleeping bag. So I need to hear from you, so I can begin to draw up the rough draft of my future.
But the real reason I do this is for the kids. My kids. Your kids. The future of America. The future of the world. Do you see the picture at the top of the page? These are my kids. Do you know why I didn't post a before picture of them? Because I was homeless for much of their childhood. When you're homeless, you don't think to stop and take pictures so you can remember how they looked when they were little.
But I don't need photographs for me to remember what they looked like in their youth. I won't ever forget what they looked like when we were homeless. They all had the same scared look and sad eyes. I can't ever forget that. I can't ever forget that I was the one who put that look of fear on those beautiful faces.
From left to right, they are Josh. Josh was born in the streets 29 years ago. He is a brilliant artist, a great humanitarian and about to get married. He is an awesome uncle to his four nieces and I know he's going to make a great dad someday.
Dominick. Dom was 3 when we first became homeless. He is about to turn 34. He has a beautiful wife, 3 beautiful daughters and is expecting a fourth child during the holidays. He's a great dad. A kind and loving husband. He has worked in the HVAC business for more than 10 years. 2 years ago he was laid off. With the construction of new homes not being what it was, he no longer does what he loves. He now works as a grocery clerk. He would do anything to keep that roof over his children's heads.
And last but of course not least, Valeria. Val was 5 when I left her dad and turned to a life on the streets. I home schooled her from the front seat of a car. She didn't step into her first classroom until she was 8 years old. She was a straight A student all throughout school. She is now an Escrow officer, a single mom to my fourth adorable granddaughter, and a pretty neat lady.
No mom could ask for better kids than the three I have. They are my life. They are my heart and by the grace of God, even after everything I put them through during our homeless years, they still love me and we are together forever, and always.
Since only a select few homeless shelters have agreed to talk with us, I have decided to share a good deal about my homeless days. Over the next several days you will hear a lot about those kids and everything they went through. You may think less of me. You may think more of me. What matters most is the message behind these stories.
No child deserves a life in the streets. With more than one and a half million homeless kids in the US, perhaps with the telling of these stories, you may think twice before judging the teen with all of the facial piercings, with the sad scary eyes, or the 14 year old obviously with child. Chances are, none of them want to be there. With your help, they don't have to be.