J500 Media and the Environment

Emotional Connections by Dave Dunn
July 26, 2009, 10:45 am
Filed under: J840 Week 6, Local Events + Action | Tags:
The Johnson Family, Homeless in Lawrence

The Johnson Family, Homeless in Lawrence

Spending a lot of time with people at the Lawrence Community Shelter, I’ve developed some kind of bond with them and the organization. I have an emotional connection now, to the point where it deeply upsets me when an uninformed or untruthful negative remark is made about the shelter or people there.

I experienced that on the day of our advocacy campaign presentations for the LCS and lost some respect for that person. I can’t find any definition or description of advocacy journalism that includes includes an emotional component, so is it wrong to have these feelings? Does it mean you’re too attached? Is it dangerous, unhealthy, or unethical?

Talking with a family who became homeless after experiencing some uncontrollable events that anyone could, I realized how often and easy it is to take life for granted. It seems almost everyone at some point in life gets knocked down and has to get back up. This experience really made me realize that not everyone has the same resources in life, and getting up can be a much harder struggle for some. I now think a more appropriate description or name for “Homeless” would be “the opposite of rich”.

After a long conversation and evening with another man at the LCS, I gave him my personal phone number and told him to call me if he needed help, advice, or just wanted to talk. I realized the shelter is understaffed, underfunded, and can’t provide all the help necessary for their guests to deal with, and recover from, issues in life.

This learning experience taught me one person can make a difference, and has forever changed my attitudes towards and actions for people and organizations like these. I just wonder if the emotional connection removes me from any future journalistic endeavors.

-Dave D.


1 Comment so far
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As someone who has had to stay in a homeless shelter with my children in the past, I applaud you. People like you are the only beacons of light some people in those shelters have. I found your post here after posting a short story about my own time in a shelter, feel free to take a look and let me know what you think? http://supportgroup101.wordpress.com

Comment by supportgroup101

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