Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Please, No More Stigmas..."

    Kirkland Marina photo by M Barrett Miller
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) had a successful fund raising Walk, on Saturday, October 27th. It began/ended at Marina Park in Kirkland. 
The NAMI Walk is the largest fundraiser for all NAMI affiliates across the state. The event included MC Patti Payne, the Mariners Moose and ponchos for the rain! 
"Our mission is to address the unmet needs of individuals with mental illness and their families through advocacy, public education, information and referral, and self-help support groups.
NAMI Greater Seattle has served the community since 1978. See the web site, above, to join in anticipation of another 34 years."
Great organization doing great work- Time to reach out and help all those who are challenged in any way----

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

C'mon America, we can do better!!

            Seattle Photo by M Barrett Miller

  • This man is mere feet from some very upscale shops in a residential neighborhood community in Seattle.
  • Why he is there doesnt really matter. He's there and we are faced with determining what we may want to do to help him and many others who are on our streets.
  • Not everyone can get into a shelter, surf a relatives couch, or get space in the already packed Tent Cities.
  • Here are a few questions suggested by a Seattle coalition dedicated to making life a little bit easier for those on the margins.
  • Wherever you live is probably facing some of the same challenges as the big cities. Should you respond to the following let your elected officials know how you feel-
  • Would your community be better off if we made year-round shelter and day and hygiene services available to more of the people who need and want them?   
  • Do you support additional shelter funds for homeless families?                        
  • Should we maintain specialized child care services for the youngest children who are homeless?  
  • Does it make sense to increase our city's investment in giving people safe, warm, dry places to be at night and during the day, or would you rather see people moved from place to place as the days get shorter and the nights get colder?   
                              We all deserve better!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tari - Am I the Face of Homelessness?

Milk Crate Mattress photo by M Barrett Miller

Today Tari guided a group of children, and dads, around her new home in the woods.
Woods adjacent to a church.
A church that has opened their arms to the less fortunate for the next ninety days. 

The kids arrived with fifty Halloween cards, candy enclosed in each card, and fifty sets of athletic stockings filled with rice and a pinch of lavender. The socs can be heated up in a microwave for a couple of minutes to offer hand warming or sleeping bag warming comfort. The dash of lavender ads a nice scent as well as chasing off little critters. 
Tari and her, Viet Nam injured, purple heart recipient, husband moved into a tent seven months ago.
This video is just part of Tari's story. 
This particular home, for 85 homeless souls, is not too far from Seattle. 
Not far from the exquisite homes that dot the neighborhood, though leagues from the lives of many who are not aware of its existence, or the plight of so many- 
The kids were young enough to think living in a "Tent City" was all pretty cool. 
The dads got it. 
Life in the woods, in a tent, sleeping on plastic milk containers isn't all that plush!

When I am with older students, or adults, I try to remind them that if one of the "Tent City" residents is kind enough to share their story it is not our role to cast doubt on it, or try to unmask what may not sound rational or believable at the moment. What would our story be if we lived in a tent in the woods out of sight of the passing by world…
We all deserve better!
Thank you Tari.