J500 Media and the Environment

A Change of Heart by jennibro

Growing-up in Kansas City, and living off the Plaza, I had always viewed homelessness as a problem, and I didn’t feel it was my responsibility to help change it. Driving home from work I grew weary of seeing the same people everyday holding up signs asking for handouts, or a “downpayment on a cheeseburger”. I never felt much toward these people other than resentment, thinking that I worked very hard to get my money and they shouldn’t just expect me to hand it over because they didn’t want to go out and get a job. Articles, like this one by Wes Laurie, helped fuel the idea that most of the homeless, in my opinion, were scam artists.

This final project has opened my eyes and come full circle to change my opinion. I now see the homeless as everyday people. People just like myself who happen to have fallen on hard times. They may be asking for a little help every now and then, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t working hard to pull themselves out at the same time. The living conditions these people had to deal with were beyond anything my imagination could grasp. This article entitled, Ghost World, in my opinion doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface of what the shelter was really like.  It does a fantastic idea of explaining the living conditions of the shelter, but what has inspired me to help are the individual stories of people trying to help themselves.

People like Robin, who work every single day to make the situation better for her husband and herself. She works at the front desk, takes odd jobs, and helps lead the campaign to get people’s stories out and ignite change in the shelter itself.  I was humbled by these people because even though they were in a less than adequate environment, they still worked for the good of the people around them. I think more people should have these characteristics in themselves, and I hope to one day help make changes in the homeless community and work toward living a selfless life the way people in the shelter do.

-Jenni Brown


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