BENEFITING: The National Alliance to End Homelessness, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Nov 20, 2015
Jordyn Tannenbaum wrote -
Turning 20 is probably the worst birthday in the history of all birthdays. You're too young to (legally) drink and you can no longer blame your dumb decisions on "just being a teen." Luckily for me, I get to pretend 20 is something special. I turn 20 on the 20th: it's my Golden Birthday.
I wanted to do something exciting this year (mostly to take away from how lame this birthday would’ve been), but nothing seemed to come to mind. I thought about what presents I might want, hoping I could get my parents to spend a little more cash on me since anything “Golden” sounds super special. But in all honesty, I couldn't think of a thing. I already have everything I could possibly ask for. (Except a hoverboard. I still totally want one of those.)
So, I've decided to do something a little different this year. Instead of presents, I'm asking that my family and friends donate to a cause that means a lot to me. That cause is homelessness.
Moving to West Philadelphia from Bucks County was quite a culture shock for me. Never before have I interacted with people who can't afford to buy hand-soap for their children, let alone provide them with a safe home to live in. And never before have I seen a group of people treated so poorly. They don’t have clothes or food or shelter, and to top it all off, we bestow such a sense of shame on them. As if they're lesser than us. As if they're not even human.
On any given night 578,424 Americans will not have a place to sleep. 50,000 of them are veterans. And 45,000 are unaccompanied children. The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a top rated charity that focuses on fixing homelessness at the most fundamental level. Its main goals are improving policy, building on-the-ground capacity, and educating opinion leaders. It's not out just to feed and clothe whoever happens to be nearby. It's a charity set out to make real, structural changes that will eventually eradicate this widespread tragedy.
Having a home is a fundamental human right that too many people in this country are living without. Before you judge them, I urge you to imagine what it would be like (even for a day) to have no safe place to go. And as the winter months approach, imagine what it would be like to not have heat or a blanket... to live outside without a jacket, shoes, even socks. And most importantly, I urge you to recognize the homeless for what they really are: human beings. They may be struggling, they may have made mistakes, but that doesn't make them worthless. They have names. They have stories. They have thoughts and hopes and dreams. They are people, and their lives matter too. So let's do something about it.
Please, as my one and only birthday wish, help me reach my goal. If all my friends donated just $5, think how much money we could raise. If each of you gave up your Starbucks latte one morning or downgraded from Smirnoff to Banker's one night, think of what we could accomplish.
Your donation will mean the world to me, as it will every man, woman, and child out alone on the streets. Thank you in advance for all your support.
Now, let's go change the world.