Advocacy….advocate….to speak for or on behalf of another. I have over the past few years become an advocate for affordable housing. My initial thinking on this is, “Get poor people to hell out of the shelters so that resources (human & other) can be used to help street people. This is the population shelters were built for.” Beyond that, are the obvious benefits for taxpayers, community and individuals; which I have blogged about before or you can go the Calgary Homeless Foundation (or your city’s 10 year plan to end homelessness) to get detailed stats.
Today I am talking about advocacy… My website and blog advocate for Canada’s homeless and street people by giving you information and insights which you may not happen across elsewhere in your day. I have often advocated for clients, with other social workers, agencies or the administration at the D.I. (Calgary Drop-In). Now I am taking on my biggest challenge yet… I will have to advocate for a young friend through his most recent encounter with the legal system. This will require an ongoing commitment of months or even years, what can I say... I don’t give up easily. I think this challenge actually began three months ago when my friend came to join me from Alberta. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, FYI… I do not like roller coasters and the ride isn't over yet LOL.
I’ve only been in Hamilton for 6 months so my knowledge of resources is limited. I need a psychologist or psychiatrist who will treat him on an ongoing basis and a really good lawyer practicing criminal law, who would be willing to work on a legal aid ticket. If you know someone like this, or are someone like this, I can be emailed through firstname.lastname@example.org . As you all know Angels of the Road in not money making venture. And of course there is no handing off of responsibility for providing personal support, weekly (or more) visits to the jail, letters of encouragement, liaising with professionals and keeping up our church attendance (probably the hardest given my Buddhist leanings). But, my friend is Christian, and we attended All Nations Church together (and I alone since) until a few weeks ago.
Commitment is so important in human relationships. First and foremost to ourselves and our purpose, do all that you can do before giving up on anything and you will never have to look back with regret. When we value others (spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers or clients) they come to see themselves through our eyes and learn, over time, to value themselves (a little tougher with street people). To commit your acceptance, your love and your time someone (anyone) is the most important gift you will ever give. My directive to you is that you touch the world gently, speak softly… treat everyone with kindness and respect. Have a joyous day my friends.