September 1, 2009

Promises Made

Dear fellow believers in change,

When it comes to helping families in crisis and giving kids who've lost everything something to hope for, the people in and around the Solutions for Change organization know what it’s like to believe in the impossible. Now that you are getting more involved in our cause we want you to start believing too…

In 1999 the Solutions vision was born. It was a simple vision that started with a nine year old homeless girl’s tug on a shelter workers sleeve and an innocent question: “excuse me mister but could I have a pillow please?” This little girl had no home. Her dresser was a black hefty trash bag and her bed as a half inch thick green Army mat on the floor of a church. When she got the pillow Amy was so happy because back then there weren’t enough pillows for the hundreds of homeless children seeking help.

Something happened in that moment and a promise was made to Amy and all the other little boys and girls. A promise that meant whatever it would take to SOLVE the root problems of this horrible thing called homelessness. A promise that meant that others would be engaged in a PURPOSEFUL and MEANINGFUL way around a plan to DEFEAT homelessness for these kids. Could we really solve this thing so that families and children could build a future that didn’t include being stuck in a dependency cycle of welfare, soup kitchens and shelters?

Feeding and sheltering would be done of course, but 90% of the plan would take place around what would happen AFTER the bowl of soup and the warm shelter bed was given. It was quickly learned that solving something as complex as homelessness wasn’t going to be easy. Many groups were feeding and sheltering the homeless and meeting their immediate needs but there was a massive gap separating the access to temporary solutions which seemed to be plentiful, and access to permanent solutions which were woefully nonexistent and which if available, would interestingly greatly reduce the need for the other.

It’s easy to get in the trap of containing homelessness and managing its symptoms by feeding and sheltering because feeding and sheltering is easy to do, but it’s really REALLY hard to develop partnerships around a plan to solve the underlying issues related to poverty, addiction, domestic violence, under-education and unemployment….to name a few. Solving it could happen with a big plan around a big attitude and that is why the name Solutions for Change was chosen. And so a plan was made and big attitudes were born. Then the real work began.

We built the plan around three core areas: 1) Improve Health (mental, emotional, behavioral and spiritual), 2) Equip with education and skills that would increase income, 3) Achieve housing stability. Activate the plan not in a shelter or a soup kitchen environment but in a “university type” setting where families could live, learn and work together to get equipped with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to solve their problems and defeat homelessness, permanently.
Now ten years later Amy isn’t homeless anymore. She grew up, graduated High School and now attends college. 542 families with over a thousand kids believed and are no longer homeless today because the idea of hope and change meant hard work, learning to be accountable and responsible and developing partnerships with others who would equip - NOT give hand outs or foster dependency.

Solutions took its message of SOLVING this thing to the community and thousands of people from all the different sectors of the community responded. Church folks, business leaders, civic organizations…just average people. The Solutions University was created and now on any given day 60 families work hard to transform their lives within its walls. It’s still not easy. Solving something as complex as homelessness just is never easy. The Solutions staff, residents, volunteers and supporters work tirelessly to help families get equipped with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to defeat this thing.

We need you to help us. We need you to believe. Now more than ever we MUST believe that we can solve this thing called family homelessness for kids and communities. Join us in believing. Sign up on our Twitter and FaceBook pages. Recruit your friends. Spread the word. Come visit us. Save lives with us. Solutions for Change is not just a name, it’s a promise! You are now part of the promise.


The Megison's

P.S. It's all divinely navigated anyway so you must be here for a reason.

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