A recent AP article by Suzette Laboy (“Fashion-forward Miamian helps homeless land jobs“) in the Seattle Times features Frank Kelly, who was Esquire Magazine’s “Best-Dressed Real Man” in 2007. Kelly mentors people stuck in homelessness so that they are ready for – and so that they actually land – good-paying jobs. He works with the Community Partnership for the Homeless in Miami, a shelter where approximately 700 of the more than 4,000 homeless people in Miami/Dade County sleep each night.
Kelly’s initiative is called Project Vacant Streets. His online pitch for the project is a slick Wayne Dyer-style self-promotion that combines reality-TV physical challenges with Complete Makeover.
But Kelly could obviously be doing far more hedonistic things with his time than generously mentoring homeless people, and the principles driving Project Vacant Streets are SOUND. Seek out people roped off in the social ghetto of homelessness. Choose individuals you can sit down and talk with. Set up regular meetings for ongoing companionship. If you can add some mentoring, the person’s life will almost certainly change for the better. (If you can’t, you’re still giving the weekly gift of drawing an isolated individual back into the wider human circle.)
Watch the entertaining, inspiring, moving video at Project Vacant Streets.
And please check out my articles on this and other subjects at Crosscut.