Thank You Mr. Parvensky!

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I am surprised I can remember my name. I”m not sure of much else. I stayed a couple of days with friends in Denver and stayed a couple nights with another friend in FC when the heat became too much in my son’s apartment. I get confused as to where the glasses and silverware are on any given day depending on what house I’m in. It’s confusing.

My friends in Denver turned me on to the Colorado Coalition that provides affordable housing, job training and placement, medical and child care and so much more to the homeless. My friend works for this amazing organization and suggested I look for a job there. I began to research and was blown away with what I discovered. People who have been on the streets for eight years now having clean, affordable safe, roofs over their heads and the promise of employment with a normal life.  People with mental illness finding the understanding they need to function successfully and live in a supportive environment. The man who started this coalition is a lawyer named John Parvensky who decided to visit Washington D.C.  He lived on the streets to experience what it was like to be homeless. He returned to Denver, and for the past twenty five years has worked at building an interactive coalition that is now the premier model for cities all over this country in dealing with the homeless.

Mr. Parvensky has provided a solution to the growing reality of poverty,  and homelessness that pervades this country. It is growing every day; circumstances that have forced people and families to make impossible choices that have devastating  consequences. How do we treat them? What do we offer them? Is superficial prayers and concern enough or are we all called to do more? To understand what it could be like if we were in their shoes and to take action. How would we want to be treated?

Did you know that once a person becomes homeless and on the streets, (and there are hundreds of reasons beyond drug addiction and abuse) they are usually robbed of their identification which makes it virtually impossible to find employment much less a place to live. My friend shared some of the amazing stories she has heard and the inspiration she has gained from a population that is so frequently stereotyped as lazy or crazy. She said she has seen miraculous transformations because someone cared enough to give them a chance with no judgement. Unconditional caring and support with guidelines and structure to ensure a fully-functioning return to society, rather than draining resources. Some don’t make it, but most do. I’ll settle for most.

I don’t know whether I will find employment with this organization but I can’t imagine a more rewarding career. I am still living out of my suitcase and not sure where I will be living. The next week or so will provide me with more clarity. It feels SO great to be back among old friends and experiencing the gift of familiarity. I am feeling bigger ( did you ever feel scared and little?) and stronger, empowered by my experiences rather than diminished by them.  I’m surrounded by unconditional love and support. People who believe in me and know I will succeed. How can I not? How can I not pass that on?

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