Walking On the Outside

America, homelessness, travel

Three years ago on a visit to Chicago, while my husband and I were walking along the edge of Millennium Park, we were approached by a man asking for some money. He appeared jovial and hopeful. Feeling good ourselves, we gave him some money. He responded with “Thank you, man!” leaned in for a hug, and said to my husband “And you’ve gotta walk on the outside of her!”

A man walking on the outside of a woman is an old custom with various origins ranging from needing to keep the sword side free if it needed to be drawn, blocking a woman from the muck that splashes up from the street, and being on-the-ready to shield a woman from harm. Oh my! I’m curious to know how many men still practice this custom. It shows up in gentlemen’s etiquette guides. I don’t mind the act of chivalry, but by no means expect it. With that said, sometimes when my husband tries to shift to take the outside, I look at him with a confused look on my face and stand my ground. Sometimes I forget that he’s trying to make this gentlemanly gesture. It’s comical and sweet.

We laughed loudly and bashfully, and wished him and his partner a good night. As we continued down the way, we held each other tight, happy to have met a nice person who was down on his luck but still had a sense of humor. And with one smooth move, my husband switched places with me, and took the outside.

Chicago - Smashed Mirror Building

View from the sidewalk along Millennium Park. Chicago, Illinois. May 2013.

 

Seattle Foundation’s Give BIG – May 6, 2014!

art, Community, creativity, culture, education, family, fundraising, giving, Health, homelessness, Learning/Education, life, Love, mental health, music, photography, Seattle, Seven Star

SAM-GiveBIG

 

On May 6, 2014 Give BIG to a Seattle nonprofit organization that values what you value and believes in the causes you do. Help strengthen a community by considering a contribution to any of the hundreds of organizations listed on the Seattle Foundation website. All donations made through the Seattle Foundation will be partially matched. Stretch your donation dollars! This is a one day event you cannot miss.

Marivic’s Community Giving and Humanity Bettering Christmas List

Community, culture, family, friends, fundraising, giving, Health, Home, homelessness, life, Loss, Love, mental health, nature, photography, Seattle, work

sasquatch-n-meI was thinking about things I’d like for Christmas, even though I couldn’t possibly ask anyone to get me anything because I honestly don’t need anything that I don’t already have some version of.  But what I think might be more helpful is if we spend our money and time helping each other.

Below are places that could use your help.  The first thing listed being the most important.  Please keep in mind that this is my own personal list and it’s only a few of the MANY things I care about.  Other than the Philippine Red Cross, I have had direct involvement with the other organizations listed here and feel comfortable listing them.  I may add more as the days go by and I remember  things that aren’t coming to mind right now.

Philippine Red Cross
By now I hope you all know about Typhoon Haiyan and how it has devastated the Philippines.  Thousands upon thousands are without homes, food, medical attention.  People have lost not just possession, but loved ones.  It’s incredibly heartbreaking.  Please help or donate as much as you can.

Philippine Red Cross:
http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate

More information:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/09/world/iyw-how-to-help-typhoon-haiyan/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Photo Coverage:
http://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/weather/typhoon-haiyan-batters-philippines-53497768

Seattle Children’s Hospital
The staff at Seattle Children’s are incredibly hard-working people.  I know because I used to work there and many of them are some of my closest friends.  They are dedicated to the mission of providing uncompensated care to children who need special medical help.  Their research teams are doing their best to work toward eliminating pediatric illness.  They are a nonprofit hospital and rely on donations, grants, and government funds.  But we cannot underestimate individual giving.  Please consider doing that.

Ways to help:
http://www.seattlechildrens.org/ways-to-help/

Seven Star Women’s Kung Fu
I can’t tell you how much this place rocks!  I just finished my beginner’s cycle and am learning all kinds of awesome things.  But most importantly, it’s a wonderful community focused on women’s well-being by strengthening your sense of self through self dense and kajukenbo kung fu.  They run on the power of a steering committee and the volunteer time of their students.  But like all nonprofit organizations, they can always accept more to better the facility and provide equipment.  Please consider supporting a school that empowers women!

Your support goes to kick-ass women!
http://sevenstarwomenskungfu.org/dnn/

More about Seven Star:
http://www.sevenstarwomenskungfu.org/dnn/AboutUs/OurSchool/tabid/76/Default.aspx

White Center Food Bank
My friend manages the garden here.  It’s amazing.  I did not spend my childhood growing things or planting things on a regular basis.  I helped out for a couple of weeks here with the garden, doing some watering and harvesting some food.  The food I picked went directly onto a distribution table that qualifying families could then pick up and take home.  Seeing that was incredible.

They can always use help:
http://www.whitecenterfoodbank.org/Donate.asp

More about White Center Food Bank:
http://www.whitecenterfoodbank.org/About.asp

Power 2 Give Puget Sound
I’ll be damned if I live my life without art.  In whatever form it comes.  I want access to programs and the space to have art, appreciate it, and share it.  This site is specifically for organizations in the Puget Sound region.  See what projects need help.  As a bonus, corporate support is matching $1 for $1 !

Keep the arts alive:
http://power2give.org/PugetSound/projects

More about ArtsFund, who is making this possible through Power 2 Give:
http://artsfund.org/

Other states with projects to sponsor through Power 2 Give (note, they may not have matching like some of the Puget Sound projects do):
http://www.power2give.org/

Support the Samarya Center
Nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to the practice of yoga for well body, well mind.  I’ve taken classes here and every one of them was a refreshing experience and mind-calming experience.   It’s not just about bending your body.  It’s also about being mindful about your actions.

Help them re-locate and support their transformation:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-samarya-center-matters-please-support-our-transformation

Visit their website for more about what they do:
http://www.samaryacenter.org/

An act of kindness

giving, homelessness

I was on my way back home from a night out with a girlfriend of mine.  I decided to take the freeway to avoid driving through streets full of people who were stumbling about from a night of fun.  I exited where I usually do and saw a homeless woman standing on the side, walking down beside the cars lined up to turn left and she was holding a sign:

Any lil’ thing helps.  Even a smile. 🙂

I looked at her, smiled and gave her a little wave.  With dimples, glasses and a black hoodie covering her head, she smiled and waved back at me.  The light was taking a while.  It usually doesn’t take this long for it to change.  Cars were lining up behind me.  But am I glad they did.  

I had these two Hershey Kisses in my cup holder that had been there since Valentine’s day.  I took them, opened my window and said “They’re just chocolates.”  She replied “That’s okay.  That’s great.  Especially for a Friday night.”  I rolled up my window and waited for the light.  It just wasn’t turning.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man walk up to her.  She stretched out the palm of her hand and showed him the two little Hershey Kisses and they both smiled.  She looked into his eyes, and him into hers and they kissed.  I didn’t want to stare, so I was doing this side peripheral vision thing and both had unwrapped one and fed each other the Kisses.  And with what I allowed myself to see in this private moment between two people, I smiled.  I felt pretty warm inside and was glad the light took as long as it did.  I feel like I saw something rare and beautiful.  

 

Can you spare some change?

giving, homelessness, Uncategorized

Yep. The kind that jingles, or possibly even the kind that folds.

I was on my way home from a the center of town when a very pathetic guy was sitting in a shadowy strip of the sidewalk. He asked if I could spare some change. I said “no.” I’m one of those honest people who finds it difficult to lie, so saying this was hard. I walked on and checked to see if there was anything I could give him to help him out. I did not. I felt bad. In fact, for some reason I felt really bad, so I turned around and thought “should I give him a buck?” I thought. “No. Because then I’m showing that I lied. No. I should be firm and walk on.” But it ate at me. I’ve passed homeless people before. I’ve been able to just prance on by and not think twice, but this time it was different. I paced a bit and decided I would get him something to eat. I walked into a store that sold soup in a cup and bot a bottled water. I walked it back to the guy and he said “That was really nice of you. What’s your name?” I told him my name. He asked if I lived around here. I said I was just passing through. He said “I really need some change.” And then my feelers stood erect and I said “I don’t have any, but I thought you could use something warm and to stay hydrated. What’s your name?” He told me his name. I said “Have a Happy Holiday.” It was one of the hardest and most awkward exchanges I’ve had with someone who lives on the streets. I was shocked at the request for actual money after I’d already given him food. Giving money to someone on the streets has always been a debate. I’ve always preferred to give someone food or water over money because I wasn’t sure how the money was going to be used. But I’m happy with myself for standing by my offer (food vs. money). I may be a sucker for giving him anything at all, but I’d be a bigger sucker if my money went to drugs, alcohol, betting, or whatever. Right? Anyway…

Sigh. I really should just get into volunteering somewhere. I like helping people and I choose when I want to do it, but I realize that exchanges like these are not a safe interaction as opposed to maybe helping in a controlled environment like a soup kitchen or something like that. I feel I learned something today, though.