I'm often astonished at the wide variety of places where I find myself.
I've visited homeless people under bridges and dined in soup kitchens.
I’ve also gone into the woods, to fields, riverbanks, railroad tracks, a garden, a marina, cemeterys, dumpsters, an old fire station, auto scrap yards, street corners, storage lockers, social services offices, indoor shelters and outdoor camps.
I've been to city hall, to court, the county jail, the police department, to district attorney and defense attorney’s offices, to the emergency room, hospital trauma and intensive care units, the medical examiner's office, to memorial services, numerous doctors’ offices, rehabilitation centers and treatment facilities and to television studios for interviews. I've also done newspaper interviews and written articles for newspapers.
I've communicated with physicians, lawyers, judges, ministers, law enforcement personnel, panhandlers, case managers, social workers, forensic examiners and environmentalists. Also donors, reporters, supermarket managers, published authors, convicted felons, a parole officer, hospital and autopsy personnel, a funeral director, politicians, a building contractor and numerous chronically homeless people. I’ve also met with several of their parents, family members, and friends.
I’ve donated clothes, home furnishings, eyeglasses, cell phones, a haircut and an old Jeep to help homeless people. I’ve distributed many hundreds of dollars worth of $5.00 Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, McDonald's and other gift cards that were purchased by children who solicited and collected donations to pay for them. I’ve also distributed hundreds of holiday gift bags and cards prepared, collected and donated by children.
Best of all, I've visited the apartment buildings and budget motels where my disabled, homeless contacts have been housed or sheltered after living outdoors, often for many years.
Whenever I find myself driving by the residences where my street contacts are now housed, I feel so much wonder and such great joy that I was able to help so many of them get off the street. They are inside, warm and safe, and they continue to look out for each other.
Every morning I tell myself,
“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!”
From the book by Dr. Seuss Oh, the Places You'll Go!
© 2013 Mary McLaughlin, PhD, All rights Reserved
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