I recently had a like by the owner of this blog, which I encourage you to read and perhaps follow and support.
I wrote the following comment as a response to his introduction page.
Dennis, my relationship with street people started when i was just 13 years old. I was a runaway and was shown kindness by a homeless man. I guess after that I had a spot in my heart for this marginalised group.
At age 24 I began to work full time with the street kids of the red light district here in Sydney. I was a night shift worker, but was often called upon to hold a hand during a court date, or at a doctors surgery, when kids learnt their new HIV status.
On my nights off, I could be found with a different street team, handing out sandwiches or coffee to the unloved, and lending an ear or shoulder. I liked to be the one to listen to the stories that were inside, bursting to be told. I have been spewed upon with methalated spirits vomit. I have held a man while he died on the streets.
At that age, I was unaware that one had to also care for self, lest a breakdown occurs, and you would then be no good to anyone. I spent 3 years recovering, unable to hold a job or socialise on even a basic level.
I again came into contact with street people inside. They would commit a small crime, so that a kindhearted magistrate would lock them up for the winter. This was a chance to dry out, to get three meals a day, and a warm bed at night for the coldest months of the year.
I am now amongst the marginalised myself. Not as a worker, but as one with a mental illness, identifying as gay, and as an ex prisoner. I am very resourceful, and am using all the services available to their full extent.
I attend art and creative writing classes with street people including others with a mental illness, or recovering addicts…others simply old and forgotten by society. One of whom is considered by our government as a living national treasure (not her words, she is too humble), able to be researched on the net. She has written seven books, studied in the best schools of her field, and taught the best of the best. Yet here she is in need of services such as a blanket, or a warm meal.
My mental illness prevents me from sleeping on the streets…amongst other things, I am borberline agoraphobic… hence I am not homeless. A psychologist recently encouraged me to take an i.q test. I tested at 157. From there I was given the opportunity to study at a university. So now, I am doing a liberal arts certificate, which will be credited towards an arts degree, majoring in visual art. I will go on to complete post grad work in creative and professional writing.
We are blessed in this country to have NGO’s who have innovative thinkers amongst them, who take it upon themselves to develop programs that enhance the lives of marginalised people.
We are also blessed by an organisation who produce a publication called THE BIG ISSUE, which brings the plight and stories of marginalised before the eyes of those who can assist, the general public.
I thank you for your blog which does the same thing. I look forward to reading the stories of marginalised who have consented to share them so publicly.
I think this will be the start of a long friendship.