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Day 28: Weeds – Valueless Troublesome Undersirable

weed – noun

1. a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.

2. any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted: The vacant lot was covered with weeds.

Day 28: UnBeautiful Weeds

But that’s not always true. Especially when it comes to people.

Ever since high school, I have been involved with many great organizations whose goals were to help people understand the complexities of the world. One thing that was dear to my heart related to homelessness. I first learned about this through The City School in Boston and more specifically, Youth Outreach Weekends. YOW exposes groups of teenagers over a weekend to the issues and stereotypes surrounding the homeless. There are a lot of stereotypes. Over the weekend, students serve at homeless shelters like Rosie’s Place, meet the visitors, and converse with them.

I’ve always been a shy guy. I was 15. After setting up tables are Rosie’s Place and after drawing smiley faces in the sing hot chocolate servings, I smiled as the ladies walked in. I think I served meatballs. I had fun. Each woman walked in, slid their trays across the counter, received their food, and set down. I remembered they all had a smile on their faces – and soon after my whole world turned upside down. I was 15, and so was she. And her sisters, they were younger. All of them. I wasn’t serving old ladies without homes, I was serving people like me who had school the next day. Who had homework to do. Who had friends in school and what does it mean that I was going to a homeless shelter with my mom and sisters.

I never talked to them. I wish I had. So instead I’m talking to you. At that time, 60% of all the homeless in Massachusetts was under the age of 13. In 2000, 7% of the homeless in the United States are minors. I can keep going on with statistics. But for some, that doesn’t really make it real. The homeless are Weeds. That’s the reality right now for many people. But weeds are just another name for a flower – a flower that we don’t want. I encourage you to to learn more, too. If you need facts, go here. But I encourage you to find and volunteer at a food bank, a homeless shelter, a church, your local government. If you are a photographer, you could also think about Help-Portrait and look for a group in your area.


April 28, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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