This morning on my way in to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library one of the employees stopped and talked to me. He mentioned something that I have said before: there needs to be a mentoring program for the homeless.
New people arrive to homelessness every day. To whom can they turn for help? When I first became homeless, I didn’t know what to do, where to go. I didn’t know “the ropes” to being homeless. I got in my car and just sat there. I thought, “Now what?”. I finally drove with no real destination. When it got dark and I was tired, I didn’t know where it would be safe to sleep. I didn’t know how I would stay clean without being able to take a shower. I wouldn’t be able to cook.
The homeless such as myself can actually teach others how to survive homelessness! I also believe that non-homeless people can volunteer to mentor the homeless–for social skills or being a “e-pen pal”, job search skills, addiction recovery. Homeless people also have skills and knowledge that someone needs! Why is there not a job agency that matches homeless people with employers who are looking for new talent with the opportunity to help someone in need? Why does the homeless services agency not offer a program in which the homeless receive specialized job skills training to advocate for themselves and the agency by going to businesses themselves to inform them of homelessness and needs, and to ask them to consider helping the homeless with services, discounts, or job postings? Currently they have only a lawn care services crew during warmer months as “job training”. The job training services and others should be expanded!
There is so much that homeless people have to offer–to each other and their communities! We have a need to attack homelessness ourselves! Teach me and I will teach you. I have mentioned some of these things and others to the local homeless services agency but they have not developed any new mentoring programs. We can still do this ourselves! Help me to create better opportunities for the homeless so we can build ourselves a new life!