This I Believe

Sue - Stilwell, Kansas
Entered on May 17, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

Homelessness and the Power of One

In 2001 I took on a new journey in my life. My children were grown and I had to redefine myself at the age of 47. I quickly identified my desire to make a documentary and soon was off to film school in New York City. Once graduated I determined that I’d explore the topic of homelessness in our nation. Fifteen cities and three years later I gathered forty hours of footage, original music and created a documentary short entitled Homelessness and the Power of One. More than that I discovered that the power of one person affecting change in another’s life was as simple as a moment in time and also a critical component to positive change.

Breaking the stereotype of the homeless, building a bridge between perception and reality, educating the public and raising awareness became my new life task. Meeting and befriending individuals under bridges and bushes, in parks and shelters, I was introduced to the soul of our country. I saw myself in those individuals. I listened to stories, held hands, played with homeless children and was brought into the world of the poor.

Meeting a man from Harlem who had lived under a bridge for years and now lives a married, employed productive life had a strange effect on me. I now understood that the power of one hand reaching out can sometimes make the difference between staying on the street or moving back into society. Every story that I heard regarding this remarkable resurrection involved another’s hand and heart reaching out. It was sometimes as simple as asking a homeless person, “is this all you want to do with your life?” Allowing the invisible to become visible became my purpose.

I believe that within each of us lies the power to change another’s life for the better. It costs nothing but heart, compassion and time. Every individual deserves a second and third chance in life no matter what their prior life decisions have been. I believe that the power of one is alive and well in our nation. In the blink of an eye we can make a positive difference in one life.

For This I Believe