Saturday, October 31, 2009

Milestone Anniversary & New Adventure

On Halloween 2005 I took the serious leap into RVing, without an RV. I sold my townhouse that day, meaning I'd need to get an RV to do this crazy project I named "HEAR US" to give voice and visibility to homeless kids.

I'd be a liar if I said I knew what I was getting into. I knew nothing about RVing. I was clueless about how to operate the video camera and assorted peripherals that I was told I needed. I didn't know if anyone would be willing to participate in this venture to let kids talk about their homelessness for what I didn't even know would be a documentary.

And I didn't have any way of knowing if I could stand the spartan downsized life that I was stepping into. My life before, while not ostentatious, was way more comfortable than necessary. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to try. I believed that IF kids would participate, IF I could find someone to help produce the interviews onto a DVD, IF I could figure a way to market this tool to get word out, it would be worth it.

Little did I know how things would play out. I am not done yet, at least as much as I have a say. My Own Four Walls, the heralded DVD with several powerful short videos, is beginning to catch on with schools, shelters, agencies, colleges/universities, and faith communities. Other projects have evolved.

And that's where I am now. On the verge of the Learning Curve Express, an attempt to connect invisible homeless families and teens with their member of Congress via YouTube. Anyone interested in actually learning about the realities of homelessness for those who turn to a patchwork quilt of motels and friends' couches instead of sleeping under bridges can watch these interviews.

From what I've heard so far, these experts in life without a home have a lot to say. Whether anyone listens remains to be seen. This is where I need help. Will you share the short video clips with your circles? Can Learning Curve Express go viral, dispelling myths that have kept Congress in the dark about lives of families and teens who have no place to call home?

Of note, I continue to receive incredible support--financial and services--and encouragement, not to mention heart-filled thanks from the families and kids I've met who courageously stepped forward as a person often defiled in society, someone without a home. And, if you could toss a few tax-deductible bucks in our secure donation bucket, that would be helpful.

At a time when our economy swirls around the sewer, and stories about skyrocketing homelessness continue to astound even me, I'll shove off next Sunday, and see what this next chapter holds.

Whatever discomfort I will encounter pales to the constant strain and stress of not having a place for your family to safely live. I'll try to keep that in mind as I hit the eventual potholes, bad weather, shortage of electricity and water that have been my constant humbling companions. Travel with me, OK?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Appreciating Water, Electricity and Flat Spots

It's that time again, where I'm rolling across country on an insanely ambitious endeavor, the HEAR US Learning Curve Express.

And as I roll, I'm remembering that my summer's security--access to water, electricity, and dumps--is behind me. Before me are question marks. Where I'm going? Who will volunteer to participate? What support I'll receive? and What surprises I'll encounter?

Already I'm doing without--I'm low on water. I have no place to plug in, therefore no heat unless I run the generator to power the heater. And dumping will be an issue in a couple

But what I'm doing pales in comparison to the struggles of invisible homeless families and
teens. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing--to give them voice and visibility.

Don't think I'm not just a tad irate after watching Michael Moore's latest film, Capitalism A Love Story. Fat cats ravage global economies, destroy businesses, ruin families, and gloat. Frankly, after watching this greed-busting movie, I found myself even more motivated to shine a light on homeless families.
Afflict the comfortable, comfort the afflicted.
Me and Tillie. We're going to do our best. Follow along. It could get interesting!

photos by the author