Pathways Drop-In Center: Making a Difference for Orlando’s Homeless

We stumbled across this video for Pathways Drop-In Center in Orlando, Florida. It’s more of a collection of stories, really…stories that follow some of Orlando’s homeless and mentally ill as they try surviving life on the street and in the woods.

Pathways is making a difference – changing the world. Offering what they call, a “Haven of Hope” to those who need their help. It’s comprised of local volunteers and community leaders who come together to help the homeless and support the Drop-in Center.

Songwriter and musician, Matt Shenk performs his song, “A Little More” which is inspired by the plight of Orlando’s homeless. And Rob Lamp of yourbrighterimage.com produced the video.

Visit Pathwaysdropin.org for more videos and information.

Thank You and Happy 2013 From Social Discussion!

Happy-New-Year-Quotes-Wallpaper1-600x450My grandfather told me, “There are two kinds of people in this world.  Those      who talk about doing things.  And those who do them.”

For years my best friend and I have wanted to change the world.  The only way to do it, we decided, was to stop talking about it.  

We created a forum, “Social Discussion” for anything and everything that deals with social change and injustice.  As important as writing, sharing articles and re-tweeting video is, we wanted to do more.  We felt we needed to get out in the world and meet the people we would write about – hear from them so we can tell their stories to you!  So, despite the fact we both have “day jobs,” we decided Nike had the right approach; we’d “Just Do It.”    

For the past three months we’ve gotten our hands dirty by helping tell stories that matter.  Meeting people, writing and creating our own video content on issues from human trafficking and women’s equality, to domestic violence and clean water possibilities in African villages. We wrote about the conflict in the Middle East (my old home) and homelessness (one of my best friend’s many passions).  We’ve met proponents of gay rights and human rights, animal rights and the rights children have been stripped of, being used for slave labor.  We covered politics first-hand; the presidential debates and the conventions.  And although, we’re not experts on these issues, we care…we have opinions…and there’s nothing wrong with a little “Social Discussion” on matters of humanity.     

Nearly 3,300 Tweets and 1,500 Followers later, @Sawworldwide (our Twitter Account) is helping make a difference.  Our blog (thesocialdiscussion.wordpress.com) is making an impact, as well. Having been viewed nearly 10,000 times, we’re now followed on five continents and in over 60 countries; Bulgaria, Gambia, Sudan, Pakistan and India.  Hong Kong, Morocco, Greece and Korea.  Qatar, Norway, Haiti and Sri Lanka.  Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Israel, to name a few.   

Thank you, all of you!  For following. For caring. For joining in Social Discussion.  Most importantly, thank you, for helping us change the world!  We’ve come a long way in a short period of time – and we have a lot more to do.  So here’s to a 2013 of not only making the world a better place, but doing it together.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Peace and Love,

Social Discussion 

                 “To change the world, start with one step.  However small, the first step is hardest of all.” – Dave Matthews

Lessons Learned From our Elderly…

Years ago I worked abroad in Jerusalem.  One morning, while standing in line at a local market with my daughter, I began to grow impatient with the snails-pace movement of the elderly crowd in front of me.  I only had a handful of items, but the wait seemed to make them feel all the more heavy.  “Old people.”  I remember saying to myself.  Not bothering to hide my contentment.

Lauren and I inched closer to counter.  We were almost there.  As the old man in front of us shuffled to the cashier, fumbling for the correct change with a shaky, unsteady hand, he dropped a handful of shekels.  I watched the coins roll in endless circles on the floor.  Rolling my eyes to the heavens, I exhaled loudly enough for all the West Bank to hear me.

With cash at the ready, I thrust my hand towards the cashier, ready to pay for both of us.  Not to be kind, but rather, to simply expedite the process.  Suddenly, Lauren, who had wedged herself between me and the old man, bent down to pick up his change.  Pointing to a series of numbers tattooed on the man’s forearm, she asked, curiously, “What’s that?”  The old man began to tell her what it was.  How it got there.  And what it meant.  It was the first time my daughter had ever heard of the holocaust.  And the first time I’d ever met a survivor from it.  

What struck me most wasn’t what he was saying, but what was happening behind me: a growing line of frustrated people, now patiently leaning in closer to earshot.  For nearly ten minutes the old man recounted his story of survival.  Like a fine artist, he remembered every detail; the way the small bits of food tasted like cardboard, and how the winter cold cut through the torn, shoddy fabric that hung loosely to his skeletal frame.  The line behind us grew.  Each person listening.  Intently.  Hanging on the old man’s every word.  No one was in a hurry anymore.  We were spell bound.

When his story ended, he patted Lauren on the head.  Taking his money from her tiny hand, he gave it to the cashier then turned to leave.  But not before giving her a smile, and all of us standing in line a lesson in humanity, and humility. I never saw him again, physically.  But I do catch a glimpse of him now and then.  Every time I begin to get impatient at an elderly man driving slowly in front of me, or an old woman who takes too long to cross the street.

I remember that moment in the market.  That impatient feeling I had.  And the lesson I learned without even being addressed by him.  He taught me about respect.  And how listening to the elderly is caring.  And how caring is all about maintaining dignity.  Kindness and compassion goes a long way, I learned that day.  And the elderly deserve more of it.  It’s easy, I suppose, to think old people have lost their visual and auditory senses.  But look deeper and I think you’ll find they see and hear better than us.  Volunteer at an elderly center and find out for yourself.  You’ll be amazed at the indelible mark that will be imprinted on your soul.  Especially when it’s left there by a total stranger.
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