Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Spring Saturday with Nazareth Housing

How did you spend your first spring saturday? Brunch? Walk through the park? Did you sleep in?

No matter what, I don't think you could have possibly had more fun than me. I got stickers all over my sweater (one said "I'M SUPER!"), went to the public library, ate pizza and watched The Story Pirates a group that makes plays for kids. But best of all, I made some new friends... the kids of Nazareth Housing.

I was introduced to Nazareth by my friend Stacey who works there. The organization provides a mix of services, including transitional housing, self-sufficiency education and youth programming to homeless families. The kids I met on Saturday are too sassy, smart and beautiful to be described. Upon entering the room I was immediately stickered by an array of bold youngsters. My partner for the day Sharonda, who was at first skeptical pre-teen, turned out to have as much fun as anyone walking through the spring sunshine to the library and helping pickup the pizzas afterward.

The Story Pirates got the kids to make up amazing stories (which are currently being transformed into a stage play). Sharonda's sister Lashonda, told me the protagonist in her story was a little girl snake. When I asked her what the snake wanted she said "Well... she wants a tootsie roll and real home." All I could think about was what two simple requests those were. She got a tootsie roll from the Candy basket.... but is still living in the temporary housing Nazareth provides.

At the end I made paper airplanes for Sharonda and her two sisters. I told them there were two rules.... 1. Don't throw them outside, because they will go into the road and get squashed. 2. To make your plane fly, you have to laugh.

As I walked away from the building I turned to see 3 little girls running down the sidewalk, their little voices bellowing "hahahaha" as they tossed their paper airplanes.

If you need a reason to end homelessness, I have three.

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