A photo showing middle schoolers rallying and holding a banner supporting the homeless.
credit: Photo by Alex Zielinski

It has been said many times (unfortunately often ignored or misinterpreted), that the “homeless need a hand up, not a handout!” Well, here is a heads up about the hands out. Most homeless folks are seen as valueless, and the domiciled seem to abhor their very existence. You might say they would gladly wash their hands of the inconvenience of this human obstruction.

Many American adults played a hand in making the mess that is known as “Homelessness.” Yet rather than lend a hand to build legitimately affordable housing, American adults condone and create barriers to basic needs such as rest, cleanliness and elimination. They then point fingers and make fists at the result. Selfishness, greed, vanity and fear lead to slaps in the face of people in survival mode who could use a helping hand.

Relatively few want to get their hands dirty. The adults seem to have their hands busy with other projects. So the children are rolling up their sleeves, cracking their knuckles and taking a hands-on approach!

A photo showing a young girl drawing on an art bus.

The granddaughter of Sheila White, a Street Sense artist and vendor, engages with a homeless advocacy art bus. Photo by Ken Martin

They marched with Michael Stoops at Alice Deal and drew dream houses on a bus. They are taught hope, then they demonstrate it in the recent performance of “Devising Hope,” a collaboration between Street Sense artists and high school students at Wilson High School. They interviewed advocates and shared their conclusions. They feed the hungry and displaced and package toiletries for distribution. They take the first steps out of innocence that adults tend to take based upon guilt. Guilt because their hands aren’t always clean, or have not been raised enough in town meetings!

How about a hand for some great and unsung young community leaders!

A photo showing kids putting their hands together in unity.

Students from the National Presbyterian School gathered at the Tenleytown library May 5 to create toiletry packages for people in need through the nonprofit Friendship Place. Photo by Ken Martin