Society - Others
DebraRae'sBlog

~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (K) 1-3-15
The Homestretch

This documentary was wonderful and so sad all at the same time. It was about three homeless high school students, Roque, Anthony and Kasey, and how they fought to stay in school , graduate and build a future for themselves.

Kasey was thrown out of her home by her own mother because she was a lesbian. She lived on the street for two weeks on a park bench before she was able to find help. Our next youth is Roque, whose Dad was an illegal, and how they had to live in two different places because Immigration was looking for his father. He was eventually taken in by faculty member Maria Rivera at Gage Park Academy, is an alumni of NEIU, and also a fighter for youth homelessness awareness and an advocate for the National Youth advisory Council. Our third youth is Anthony, who has been in the foster care system and DCFS since the age of 14. He is also the father of a baby boy...

According to the film, there are 19,000 students registered as homeless in Chicago, 1.6 million nationwide. The film also introduces "The Crib", a shelter for homeless youth in Chicago. Mentioned also is The Night Ministry, a pilot project for 18-24 year olds (and one of only two in the entire country) that offers overnight emergency shelter (in addition to rapid HIV testing) for LGBTQ youth.

Faculty members Jacqueline Anderson and Tim Libretti spoke about these programs at length and introduced the audience to an NEIU student, a one time homeless single mother of three whose faith and hard work has paid off, and she will be getting her BS degree in 2015. Congratulations to all of you!
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (J) 1-2-15
Poverty and Chicago

Saw a video today called POVERTY IN CHICAGO by Top Documentary Films (VIMEO). Eye opening, riveting film. Talked about the most criminally infested area of Chicago (South and West sides), the people who live there, and what they experience every day... Chicago is considered the third city in the US that is known for drug over-doses. Usually heroin, meth-amphetamine and crack-cocaine. People just give up on life. A man named Delvin was interviewed extensively, and took the film crew there, "Where it is going down... You wanna see what really makes people homeless? Crazy? I've told you, Now, I'm gonna show you..."

Chicago, often called "2nd City" by some, because after the Chicago fire, approximately 100,000 people were left stranded, homeless, afterwards. And it never really got better. It is not just an economic issue, there is also the lack of health care, inadequate education, lack of affordable housing. Homeless missions full of parolees with no where else to go, once out of prison, and with a felony on their record, find it hard to get a job. The South and West side of Chicago is where the majority of homelessness is, and mostly African American in population, with the white folks in the North and the hispanic on the NW and SW sides. There are many excuses as to why this is so, everything from overcrowding, lack of education and skills, to sentencing guidelines and rules regarding rehab after incarceration.

The projects that were built to help the housing situation eventually became overcrowded, in addition to the limited access to schools and the economic depression, which led the youth to turn to drugs and gangs. With the eventual closing of the steel mills, stockyards and many of the transit companies, there were no jobs for the unskilled. And although many people see the homeless as a "special class" of people (ie., crazy, ex-VietNam war vets, alcoholics or drug addicts), many folks do not realize that they are also only one or two paychecks away from the same situation. A divorce, or unexpected medical bills can do the very same thing if one is not prepared. Then with lack of employment comes poor nutrition, no healthcare, and mortality rates start to climb. Folks turn to drugs or alcohol to "dull the pain" and to forget what life used to be like.

Even with mobile programs on wheels such as The Chicago Recovery Alliance, this "permanent underclass" and it's lack of resources often has little chance to catch up, school is considered a waste of time by the youth and they then turn to the "convenient" market of drug dealing, with many becoming incarcerated and eventually homeless, and the horrible vicious cycle is perpetuated once again.
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (I) 12-20-14

The reason there is such inequality in Chicago... First of all, it has always been this way, in ANY city, USA. Initially the city was segregated due to race and ethnicity. Chicago's elite have always attempted to stay separate from their "lesser" neighbors, but now have decided to move in on the poorer neighborhoods (ie., by putting up condos and tearing down buildings that were in dire need of repair or even abandoned). On the one hand this has been a good idea, to get rid of real estate that has become an eye-sore and to improve the esthetics of our city... however, on the other hand, by doing this, they have moved the poorer folks out of the sections of town they have come to call home and have separated them into little pockets throughout the city. Then they complain that they cannot leave their more affluent neighborhoods without feeling threatened by the people whose neighborhoods were there in the first place. What they fail to understand is that the transportation (buses and trains) lines have the ability to go from one area into another so that there is no way to avoid this from happening. The poor are damned if they do, and damned if they do not.
~Hunger and Homelessness~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (J) 12-27-14
An Issue of Poverty & Chicago
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (I) 12-20-14

The reason there is such inequality in Chicago... First of all, it has always been this way, in ANY city, USA. Initially the city was segregated due to race and ethnicity. Chicago's elite have always attempted to stay separate from their "lesser" neighbors, but now have decided to move in on the poorer neighborhoods (ie., by putting up condos and tearing down buildings that were in dire need of repair or even abandoned). On the one hand this has been a good idea, to get rid of real estate that has become an eye-sore and to improve the esthetics of our city... however, on the other hand, by doing this, they have moved the poorer folks out of the sections of town they have come to call home and have separated them into little pockets throughout the city. Then they complain that they cannot leave their more affluent neighborhoods without feeling threatened by the people whose neighborhoods were there in the first place. What they fail to understand is that the transportation (buses and trains) lines have the ability to go from one area into another so that there is no way to avoid this from happening. The poor are damned if they do, and damned if they do not.
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (H) 12-14-14
Shipler Ch. 11: Skill and Will

Shipler reminds us that poverty and hunger become a vicious circle, where one thing begets another, and all act together. A child whose mother or father are on welfare is perhaps used to seeing the parents not looking for work, getting by on hand-outs from the government, with no incentive to climb any corporate ladder, let alone get a job at McDonald's. This pattern is repeated by the children, along with the negative message that it does not pay to go to work or to school; that one may as well stay where they are, because at least they know how to deal with their own little world of poverty. Many are ashamed or embarrassed to try, as it feels "safer" amongst their own kind, at least they are not then judged by others. Addiction and depression run rampant and hope is lost along the way. They do not believe in themselves, so they do not believe life will get better for them. I can understand how it is said that these problems must be attacked all at once, because they do all affect one another in some shape or form. "We lack the skill to solve some problems and the will to solve others... connections of services are needed, and can become portals through which the distressed could pass into a web of assistance" (Shipler, pg. 286).

The less education, the less people believe they have a voice in a democratic society. Their experience has shown them that they are living in the "land of the lost". Shipler states that, "Relief will come when society recognizes their obligation through government and business, and that the individual's obligation is through labor and family- and the commitment of both through education." But to close our eyes, on either side, is just a sin~

~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (G) 12-7-14
Walmart reflection

This video horrified me! I had no idea about the terrible working conditions of the people overseas who make products for this corporate giant. And who do it willingly because the pay is considered "good".... the housing is completely inadequate, the hours extremely long, and yet it is tolerated by the masses, unbelievable!! This video should be seen by anyone who shops here, or even works here for that matter. Why can't something be done to right this situation, and why are so many turning a blind eye to it? One has to stop and think, if this is happening with the Walmart chain, what about other big department stores like JC Penney, Target, K-Mart... why aren't there special interest groups in place so that this kind of thing does not happen? Once again I am reminded that although we live in the "free world", the things that we consider helpful to us by making our lives easier are, on the other hand, only making life hell for many others. Disgraceful.
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (F) 12-5-14
Reflection: Hunger Banquet

I must say this was a very interesting "experiment"... the class was divided into three different groups: the lower class, middle class, and the "well to do". I was one of three chosen to be in the wealthy section (we were given numbers at the door), where we were served a three course meal in addition to linen table cloths and napkins, with folks waiting to serve us. The middle class was served a simple meal and were also seated, however, without the esthetics. The lower class folks were served top ramen and had to sit on the floor. Being someone who has had to struggle her entire life, and who has even been considered homeless for a while after my divorce (after a 25 year marriage) a few years go, I could definitely relate to the other two sets of citizens. I felt very uncomfortable being separated the way we were. I will say that because I have been in all types of situations, and also because I am a Navy veteran, I am usually comfortable with whomever I am sitting with or talking to. However, being separated from the majority was not an easy task, and the thought will help me to continue to keep my eyes open and to also continue to reach out to others who may need my help.
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (E) 11-25-14
Reflection on Presentation by Jake Bradley

What a great speaker! I do have to say that on this particular day, I learned something as simple as addressing a person by his or her preferred gender... as a transgender person, Jake considers himself to be male, and as someone who has not been around many transgender individuals, I initially made the mistake of referring to him as a her, which got me a raised eyebrow from my professor! I was a bit mortified, as I have always thought that folks should live as the gender they feel comfortable with, so that was a much needed eye opener for me. Mr. Bradley works for Night Ministry, a center for homeless LGBTQ Chicago youth, and gave the class a lot of important information regarding how to volunteer or contribute. One could tell he felt very comfortable in his own skin, which also helped to put the class at ease. I really enjoy going to a school like NEIU where there are folks of every persuasion. I do believe it helps everyone involved to see that we are all individuals with our own contributions to make to society and the world~


~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (D) 11-24-14
My Service Project

I volunteered at the Lisle Park District's Food Pantry, by giving 20 hours of my time to help in the pantry's garden. A sweet lady by the name of Nancy Tarulis grows the entire garden herself, putting in many MANY man hours, with no pay, except for the gratification it brings to help feed those less fortunate than herself. She volunteers her time freely, from spring through fall, and in addition to all the work needed to put up and take down the fencing, stakes and various other things needed just to be able to harvest the vegetables she produces, is simply amazing. She also receives donations ONLY by word of mouth and a hand-shake. No corporate letters are ever sent out due to time constraints, etc. Initially I was hesitant to help out, as I am not very good at gardening, but by the end of my time there, much of the intimidation was gone concerning growing all the different vegetables, even for myself at a future date. What had started out as overwhelming to me became something that I very much enjoyed, so thank you Professor!
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (C)
A Review of Two Students Blogs 11-23-14

I reviewed Michael's blog on 11-22-14. It appears he put a lot of thought into his blog, and also gave me ideas for my own. He is not afraid to state his opinion, and had strong feelings regarding what he experienced in class. I really liked his video of a Chicago homeless man, and what he experienced on his birthday. It did my heart good to see someone in this situation who has kept his spirits up, despite such tragic circumstances. God bless this man and give him the courage to continue on. Thank you Michael for taking this class. Perhaps you will be able to continue to help in some way down the road.

I also reviewed Angelika's blog on 11-22-14. Here is a girl whose parents are from Poland, and who speaks fluently in her native language, and yet her English is wonderful... and her ideas regarding the homeless extremely refreshing. I enjoyed reading about her experiences while volunteering for her 20 hours also. Her blog was informative, gave a lot of information, and gives me hope that future generations will be more concerned with this issue than in the past, that they really do care.
~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (B)
CHAPTER 5: EX-OFFENDERS- JOBS AND DEBT TO SOCIETY 11-22-14

The name of this chapter is called "The Daunting Workplace". It describes the lives of people who have been raised poor, or who have been incarcerated for a long period of time, who may not be aware of the "normal" ways of the working world, or may just be unable to deal with establishment... Many have been brought up on welfare their entire lives, and they are often not aware of what it feels like to move up in a career, let alone what is thought of by most as "instinctual" in our modern world. Even the small things many of us take for granted, something as simple as the brushing of teeth or the combing of hair, the most basic of requirements that are taught before one leaves their home in the morning, to just begin their day. These are called "soft skills", and sometimes these habits may end up being taught by their teachers at school rather than the parents, and then it may even be passed on to the employers to guide them, rather than the teachers . Unbelievable, but true. Brought up by parents who may have given up or who may be working several jobs and cannot afford childcare, who may be addicts or alcoholics who cannot deal with their lives, some folks are so insecure or self-conscious when and if they finally do get a job that they cannot seem to follow rules, or have not learned to get along with authority or co-workers, or cannot arrive to work on time, and may end up quitting after a short period. The chapter describes the fear that is felt when one goes "outside his or her own comfort zone", despite the fact this comfort zone may be in a violent part of town. As this is all they know, they prefer to stay within it's limits. This becomes frustrating to employers and the employees, and forms a vicious circle for all.

One thing that does seem to work, and even though it is mentioned in the chapter (but only in a small way), is reciprocity. When employees know that the job they do is an integral part of the big picture, and when they do not feel disposable or invisible, folks tend to stay with the job. A good example of this is when people join the service. They become a service member for the United States, which can instill a sense of pride in an individual, and give meaning to the various jobs they are called on to do. They are required to be on-time, day after day, 24-7, around the clock, often standing duty back to back or every three days, often without sleep. There is something called accountability, and it is something often not found in the civilian sector. There are examples of people who have literally turned their lives around, sometimes to avoid going to jail, who end up doing twenty years in the Navy, Air Force, Army or Marines, and do a wonderful job of it. All it took was someone to believe in them.

~HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS~
BLOG ASSIGNMENT #2 (A) 11-20-14
Shipler Chapter 4 Migrant Labor

First of all, I would like to say that I have enjoyed this book immensely. It has made me much more aware of poverty within the US, and having been homeless at one point myself (after my 25 year marriage and subsequent divorce), it has brought home to me just how much more help is needed in our country. I intend to work with the homeless after I get my degree (somehow within the VA arena as I am a vet), and I am much more motivated in this respect because of this class.

About Chapter 4. I found it very disheartening to read of the living conditions that our migrant workers must put up with, to say the least. Our US citizens could learn a lot about family and community if they could spend some time, even a single day, with these folks... their work ethic is beyond reproach, what with the majority of their salary being sent home to help parents and family members live a better life, while they live in the most deplorable of conditions, with many working twice the hours as most of our own citizens do. Afraid to complain because of fear of deportation, they live lives of destitution and loneliness, sacrificing their own happiness for the sake of their own relatives back home. It becomes a vicious cycle for them when they often cannot even get a driver's license to get them back and forth to work, having to depend on the humanitarian effort(s)of a minority of well meaning folks to help them get from one job to the next. And because the vast majority are illegal, they cannot get social security or even minimal aid from agencies designed to help, due to the same fear of deportation or lack of work if they are found complaining of such jobs or living conditions. Often they do not look to the long term or a see it as a "career", with many only staying a year or two and going back to Mexico to be where their life and loved ones are. Isolated in one spot and not free to come and go as they please, their existence is compared to that of one in prison...drugs and alcohol are often used to combat the isolation and unhappiness they live with, leading to medical ailments and addictions that are hard to treat because they are considered "invisible" and disposable. 52% of illegal migrant workers make up the majority of hands-on labor in this country, giving many of our American farmers and citizens the chance to prosper, often in plain view of the disadvantaged. The labor unions are hard pressed to fight the good fight as politicians and business owners turn a blind eye to the conditions that helped them get to the top in the first place. I believe it should be a requirement in high school to have classes on hunger and homelessness, and to visit these so-called migrant camps, and to spend at least a week alongside these folks as they go about their day. Perhaps this would change the way for future generations of our children and their children, and bring about some much needed change.
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 10-21-14
Shipler- Chapter 2: Work Doesn't Work

Christie is a daycare worker who does not earn much more than the minimum wage, let alone being able to afford daycare for her own two kids, so her mother watches them after school until she gets home. When it comes to dinner, they often eat out as Christie doesn't know how to cook, in addition to being exhausted after a long day. Take out meals and snacks can be expensive, almost as expensive actually were the family to eat healthy. But many folks are uneducated about nutrition and tend to go with what is easiest at the time. Her boyfriend has been in prison and his "landscaping" job does not pay much over $7.00 an hour, that is, when he is able to work in the warmer weather. This means no work in the winter, and things are always tight financially. Forget a savings account when you can barely keep your head above the water. When it comes to bills, Christie borrows from Peter to give to Paul, constantly juggling different ones and paying fines. She cannot afford to go to school because she must work to support her family, and the various training programs she has tried have not come to fruition. Life is a precarious see-saw, and she sees no way out. Too much money is again spent on nights out and alcohol on occasion, but who can really blame them when life seems so bleak...
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 10-21-14
~Video on Homeless in New York~

Taken from the internet, HUFF POST did an article on a social experiment (a new campaign called "make Them Visible") that had been conducted in the Tribeca and Soho area of New York recently. It was eye-opening to say the least. Without their knowing the actual reason for the experiment, several people were asked to walk down a city street and talk about what they had seen. They were not aware that loved ones, significant others or family members were disguised as homeless people on that same street. Not ONE person recognized some of the most important people in their own lives. As each of these folks realized what had happened while watching the video later, it was obvious that they were very upset. They could not believe they had walked right past them... One man even refused to give permission to use his face in the video (produced by ad agency Silver + Partners and Smuggler, for the New York City Rescue Mission). It was a stark reminder of how the homeless situation has become so prevalent that these poor folks are no longer even seen as fellow human beings, let alone someone's brother or cousin or wife. If a family member posed as a homeless person, would YOU look long enough to be able to recognize them?
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 10-21-14
Classmates Logs

#2 The second post I read was from Lisa (garlisa614.blogspot.com). It was about a homeless man by the name of Ronald Davis, a middle-aged African-American man from Chicago. He had graciously allowed a film crew to share a day in his life on the streets. I had seen this article myself a while back, and was touched by this man's humanity. He was humble and honest about his situation. He spoke of the hardships in his life and what had led him to become homeless. He also stated that although he was experiencing hard times, he "was not a bum". There is no way you can hear this man speak and not feel for his situation... I know that we are taught by society to "look the other way" or to believe that these folks are scam artists, drug addicts or alcoholics, but I cannot help but think about how embarrassing it must be to stand there with a sign, asking for money or food. I know what it is like to have lost everything after a bad divorce and terminal illness. There may be times when things look so bleak it seems as if life may not be worth living, and knowing that just one person cares enough to reach out on any given day is can often be reason enough to go on~
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 10-21-14
Classmates Logs~

#1 I looked up Livn2eat.blogspot.com: I read the blog called "Homeless Murders". Interesting article and brought up some good points. In Albuquerque, NM, three teens, ages 18, 16 and 15 attacked three homeless men, killing two. They used bricks, sticks and a metal fence pole, and beat these poor folks to the point that they were not recognizable. These same three teens also confessed to attacking at least 50 more homeless in the past year. Connie, the author of the blog, asked about the responsibility of the parents regarding the situation... Is it the parents fault, who may or may not have raised their children properly, or society's fault, when violent video games and movies that deal with death in a horrific and unapologetic way, to blame? We need to step up as parents AND as a society and put an end to the notion that killing is a sport~
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 10-20-2014
Shipler Chapter 1: Money and its Opposite

How do businesses take advantage of the poor? Let me count the ways... #1: Hire folks to work "full time", but only give them 30 hours so that they cannot receive health insurance or benefits. #2: Make sure there is not sufficient information given so that even those who speak English as a first language are totally confused. #3: Offer assistance but make it so hard to get through red tape that people give up trying to get aid, such as food stamps or Medicaid. #4: Make it so hard to get through (try impossible) to various offices on the phone that people have to take time off of work to sit in a room with 65 other people, just to ask a couple of questions that would have taken 2 minutes if only someone had answered the other line. #5: Offer rapid tax refunds (aka "loans" with ridiculous interest rates) so that people who barely make ends meet have to rely on a once a year opportunity to try to catch up on their bills. #6: Make sure that the MEN in the company are getting the very same wages as the women in that company. #7: Give the poor the tax breaks instead of the wealthy. #8: Put the politicians in prison that don't keep their promises (nevermind, then there would be no one to run the government)~

Hunger and Homelessness Class 10-20-2014
HUNGER IN ILLINOIS

CHICAGO (Suntimes Media Wire) Jan. 15,'14 (retrieved from: www.myfoxchicago.com) According to the study done by Social IMPACT Research Center of Chicago's Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, 1 in 3 Illinoisans lives in or near poverty level, which means 1 in 5 children... and the situation has only gotten worse in the last 30 years.

Author Amy Rynell, director of the resource center, states, "We wanted to get a handle on how people are recovering post-recession, and to understand how things like our states budget crisis are filtering down into communities. What we found was extraordinarily disturbing."

With budget cuts to government programs and affordable housing, the situation is worsening, with poverty becoming a reality for many, not just in Illinois, but in our nation. The study recommends that minimum wage be increased, in addition to addressing the role of education and training, healthcare, and not least, hunger and homelessness. We are no longer the wealthiest nation in the world, and unless we do something very soon, what legacy are we leaving our children, and their children?
Hunger and Homelessness Class 10-19-14
~The City of Seattle and it's Homeless Population~

So, did America's Alliance to End Homelessness: TEN YEAR PLAN work? Apparently, the effort was successful at focusing attention where it needed to be... only now, with even more plans and more dates, due to the fact that some states did not even join in the effort at first. The actual 10 year date, originally due in 2014, has now become extended to a later date. The wheels are rolling anyway...

According to The Seattle Mayors Council for the Homeless (2014), Seattle has one of the largest homeless populations in the country. It has become well known that many of these folks are not even from the state of Washington. The winters are milder, therefore, more tolerable to the deplorable conditions these poor souls must deal with. Seattle also has one of the largest, visually speaking, number of destitute.

For the past 33 years, the Seattle King County Coalition on the Homeless has done a ONE NIGHT COUNT. Once a year, at the end of January, 900+ volunteers and over 100 trained team leaders go out into the night and perform the biggest homeless count in the U.S. Although many spaces are investigated, the homeless are aware of the event, so many will make themselves scarce so as not to be counted... According to Tim Harris, the founding director Of REAL CHANGE, the count this year was 3,117. This is an increase of 14% over last year. When you count the people in emergency shelters or traditional housing, the actual count is more like 9,294. People involved with the event help to bring about change by urging state and local officials to look at the very real economic issues which include cost of housing vs. wages, in addition to medical and health concerns.

The DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) opened in 1979. Originally an overnight emergency shelter with a staff of 14, it welcomed nearly 200 a night. It is now open 24/7, and is in partnership with the city of Seattle and The Greater Seattle Council of Churches, in addition to the Washington Advocates for the Mentally Ill. (Using a lottery system they care for the most vulnerable first). Several other shelters have up to 50 beds, and include severe weather overflow... There are now housing programs with affordable apartments and ongoing care. In addition to a Crisis Solutions Center, there is The Aurora House with 87 units, Cottage Grove Commons with 66 units, Canady House with 83 units (25 for disabled vets), Rainier House with 50 units, and Evans House with 75 mentally disabled units. However, at the end of the day, even these are not enough~
Hunger and Homelessness Class: Shipler- The Working Poor (Introduction) 10-18-14

There appear to be many suggestions as to how the "average Joe/Josephina" can live the good life in America. The problem is, these suggestions seem to be made by those who have never been in his/her shoes...
any day of the week one can read a magazine article or book as to how the "lower middle class" can get ahead. What most folks don't seem to realize is that they are only one or two paychecks away from being in the same boat. Take savings accounts for instance. The point is moot for many. People struggle to pay the mortgage, the car payments, the bills, let alone groceries and health insurance. Then there is little Joey's band practice uniform (don't forget the tuba, but you can actually rent those now), and baby Sally's formula, disposable diapers, and cost of daycare. If Joey gets sick and has to stay home from school, Mama will still take Sally to day care (so that she won't catch it from her brother), and miss a day or two of work in addition. Money is taken from Peter to give to Paul each month as bills are juggled around and the bill due first is paid while the other bills take a back seat or don't get paid on occasion, which means the same bill is twice as much the following month, in addition to the late fee. More and more folks are on anti-depressants these days as they struggle to make ends meet. Mama and Daddy let their monthly "date nights" go to the wayside as the mounting pressure of raising their loved ones increases, which may lead to a need for couples counseling which they simply cannot afford either. So it becomes a vicious circle. Many folks are just above the poverty level, which keeps them from getting the assistance they sorely need. And forget about going back to school until the kids are raised. By that time the damage is done, and many couples become separated or divorced, which certainly increases the struggle and uncertainty of the "middle years"... But, at least when we get to that point, we are even poorer than before, so we are finally eligible for assistance, and perhaps able to fulfill those dreams (like going back to school) that have been put on the back burner for all those years. Only now, we do it alone~



HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 9-24-14
Service Project Intro~

Today I visited the Lisle Park District Food Pantry and talked to the lady in charge (I believe her name was Lois)... She told me that she already had plenty of volunteers, including folks that were there doing community service. Then a gal named Nancy, who grows the large garden out back for the food pantry, told me that she could use my help picking veggies and weeds, etc. So far I have put in five hours, and I have come to find that I really like it (my sister has the green thumb in the family). Nancy uses no pesticides on the produce, and everything goes to the people who come to get their food at the pantry. And, in addition to doing this for class, I have made a new friend~

HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 9-5-14
Two News Articles: A Reflection


#1) Chicago Tribune/Life+Style/Section 6/Sunday, August 31, 2014... Taken from the article "Taste of the Nation Aims to End Hunger"... Held at Navy Pier in Chicago (every year for the past five years), "Taste of the Nation" has sponsored a fundraising benefit for the hungry children Of Illinois. It is estimated that one in five children go hungry in this state alone (nearly 700,000). In response to this need, "Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign" was formed. Nearly one hundred of the city's local restaurants participate to raise money for the cause, and this year it attracted more than 1,200 people. Everything from lobster tacos to wild boar was served, and folks danced the night away with Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull to the tunes played by cover band Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress. Hosted by emcee Bill Rancic, the more than $280,000 in proceeds benefitted organizations such as The Illinois Hunger Coalition, Ever Thrive Illinois and The Greater Chicago Food Depository.

#2)From the article "NEIU Ground", NEIU's INDEPENDENT newspaper, Friday, August 22,2014... Did you know that almost 100 raised garden beds are planted in our university's tennis court area, through the Peterson Garden Project? Students, facilty and even the surrounding neighborhoods are welcome to call a plot their own. This community garden was created to teach folks how to grow their own pesticide free food, and learn what it is like to bond with the earth and in many cases, their next door neighbors. Several classes are held throughout the season right here at the garden, teaching newbies tips and techniques. There is even music played to extend the positive vibe. This has also proven to be beneficial to lower-income communities, and is a great way to get both children and adults involved in growing their own food. As an added benefit, when children participate in such projects, they tend to be more wiling to taste the vegetables they have grown with their own hands.
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 9-23-14
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Today we had three speakers from The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Patrick was the first speaker, and discussed issues that cause homelessness with the class. He explained that there were four different areas that the coalition addresses: Development, Law, Advocacy and Community Organization. There are now two contacts for these folks, including The Chicago Housing Authority of Cook County (thecha.org), and (thehacc.org.). CHA also has units for seniors (50 yrs. or older)and now even fols on probation or parole can get on section 8. (Please call The Coalition for the Homeless for more info). Services based on continuem of care.

He went on to say that at present, there were 59,000 school children that were considered homeless this year... There are four emergency shelters for our youth, with up to 25 beds each. For the adults and families there is temporary shelter for one night, and programs set up to help folks get back on track regarding training and employment, mental health issues and substance abuse, in addition to counseling and basic services and info on how to get into section 8 housing.

Our second speaker was Charles Austin, who works for the coalition and been homeless three times, each time receiving help and getting back up on his feet. His stories were bitter-sweet, but he remains positive.

Kathy was our last speaker, a young lady, just 25 years old, who had been homeless before the coalition stepped in. She now has her own apt. and a new baby. Congrats Kathy. I wish you well~
HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 9-2-14

Hello Professor, hello class-mates~

My name is Debra S., and I dropped out of NEIU over 20 years ago, much to my dismay... I had just gotten out of the Navy Hospitalcorps (medic), and since I was an Illinois veteran, my full time schooling would be paid for. However, that did not include the cost of books, and my ex-husnband, still IN the Navy and teaching at NTC at Great Lakes, could not afford to pay for them. We were used to both of us working, and as we had two small children to raise, we just could not foot the bills on one paycheck. It was hard financially, even back then. So. My kids are grown now, both with great jobs and families of their own, and now it's Mama's turn to shine! I have three semesters left to get my degree and plan to work with the VA in some capacity; either with homeless veterans or vets with PTSD. I may have to go on for my masters degree, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Wish me luck please!




HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS CLASS 9-2-14
"Just a Thought"

The other day as I was getting ready for class, I had "the Price is Right" on T.V. Drew calls up a young female contestant originally from Texas, who has come to L.A. to seek her fortune working as a "Party Princess" for little girls birthday parties. Ok, she is most likely a struggling actress, and you have to give her credit for trying, I realize that. However, this young lady cannot be older than 21 years of age. She nixes the door, and wins the content of the box. $100,000! I doubt if she has even had to struggle that long on this earth yet, and the kid wins $100,000! What is wrong with this picture, when we have people who are starving and homeless in America, and Princess Leah is allowed to walk off the stage with such an outrageous amount of money? What would happen if shows such as this one were to contribute a percentage to the needy. We can even give it a new name. Something like, "Dollars for the Doomed", or "Have a Heart", or "Love Thy Neighbor"... Unbelievable~



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