It’s been 3 and half years since I created Do Something Saturday and over a year since I created Unpluggin’ HIV. I created both outreaches while I was homeless. I’ve lost count of how many homeless people I have spoken to, how many I have helped and how many outreaches I’ve done. I’ve lost count of how many meals, pairs of socks, hygiene kits, granola bars and I’ve even lost count of how much time I’ve spent doing all I can to try to make things better for those I encounter.
If someone told me that I would be typing a blog such as this, or that I would be doing the work I’ve created and doing it for free, I would have said “not me” This is not to imply that I was once a selfish or uncaring person, but I cared far more for myself then anything else. It was all about me and anything else was second.
I will say that I’ve always had this desire to help people, this want to make things better and for as long as I can recall I’ve always wanted to some how, in some way make a difference. At a very early age I learned that money does not equal happy and it does not equal good. I learned at an early age that strength of character means far more and will carry me a whole hell of a lot further in life then a fat bank account or a fancy car could ever do. I learned that hard work and determination are required far more then having money. I’m glad I learned these lessons early in life, because without them I would have believed all the lies I was told about how I could not make a difference or that being homeless and now poor would prevent me from helping or doing anything that is worth anything.
What I have learned since creating my organization is that many people believe that unless I am a non-profit, work in a fancy building, wear a fancy suit, drive a fancy car that I am unable to help people. I’ve met people who say they will help with an outreach or with supplies for hygiene kits but in the end they are no different then the first group of people. In many way they are far worse and I must say that I have far less respect for. It least the first group says flat out “NO” They dont comment on my blogs or vlogs about things they will do only to do nothing in the end. They say “NO” right up front, while the other simply lie.
What I have learned from corporations is that nothing comes before profit. I remember as a kid how you could write to a company and they would at least consider your request for help, but those days are long gone and have been replaced with companies setting up their own way of giving back that better suits and protects their bottom line. Many companies only use certain organizations and will not even consider others. Such organization then become clearing houses and again will only deal with certain organizations. Now I am not pointing the finger and trying to say that this is all bad, I am sure there are great things that come from much of this new way of helping. All I am saying is that it is very limited and very selective or what I would call “inside the box” way of thinking and helping.
So the lessons I learned as a kid about hard work and determination play key roles in every single thing I do. Without these lessons I would have given up a very long time ago. Instead they have taught me to work harder and find new ways of helping people. What I have tried so hard to do since the start.
I really like how President Obama has sparked a new wave of getting people involved in helping each other, but I dont like how it limits how people like me can be involved. I dont like how the thinking behind it is still the old way of doing things, very much the “inside the box thinking” I dont like how it encourages people to go through large organizations as if to say individuals or small grass roots organizations can’t make a difference.
Anyone can make a difference, anyone can create positive CHANGE on this planet. You dont have to have lots of money, you dont have to have non-profit after your name, you dont need to go through so large organization plagued by red tape and bureaucracy. You can make a difference in small ways even large ways by doing it with a group of friends. All it takes is a desire to want to be part of something that is good, be willing to work hard, think outside the book and think about others before thinking of yourself.
As for me, I will not allow the “NO” from companies stop me from helping people and I will not allow the lip service from people who comment on my blogs and vlogs prevent me from doing all I can to help people who are homeless or battling HIV and AIDS.
In over three years I have met some awesome people who truly care about humanity, who are truly willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work required to make this nation great again and a better place for all of us. In over three years I have learned that bigger isn’t always better, larger doesn’t mean you can do more and having money and a non-profit status does not mean you are better suited to help anyone.