Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Help Homeless

I think some or a lot of people get things wrong when thinking of helping Homeless or People in Need. I have gotten so many times people saying “I want to help, but what do I say or how should I say it?”

Bernie the Polite Girl and I just helped a girl to get on her feet in a huge way, then on the way home I got a call asking that very question in a round about way. I must say I shake my head sometimes and think how wrong this is.

Firstly I’m going to say something I say often, “Homeless People” is just words for someone going through tough times and for some or a lot they have given up on themselves , but if you take the word “Homeless” you are left with the one word “People”. The same people you could be sit next to on a bus or even someone you work with. What I’m trying to say is a lot of Homeless I’ve meet and there’s been a lot have had regular lives but something happen and they ended up in a downward spiral to become homeless.

This may sound harsh but imagine a family member hitting hard times and not asking for help or NOT getting it and become Homeless, how would you like others to see or treat them? I guess I’m saying when asking how to talk to a person that’s Homeless think about how you would talk to your best friend that hit hard times. They are people.

Now I really hope that helped and some of you will start thinking of Homeless differently.

I’m going to write about a female I meet last week, I had walked past her and to me it seemed clear she was having a really bad day, I politely asked her if she was okay and quickly started a chat about how hot the weather is, within minutes I learnt how she moved from NSW last week to escape a horrible violent relationship and had left with a small bag. I talked about different services around for her but quickly felt trust was a problem. So I did what I do best offered to buy her a cup of coffee and gave her a card with my phone number and said to call anytime she needed a friend, because we are now “Best Friends” because I was the only person she knew in Brisbane, (with a smile and joking) but before I left I said I’d help her to get on her feet as long as she helped herself as well.

She called and I was so happy that she trusted me. I called Bernie the Polite Girl straight away because everyone knows females relate to females better, it’s a girlie thing haha.

This girl is staying in a Lodge but I’m proud to say she is starting her NEW job tomorrow, Bernie and I meet up with her today all excited, we sat eating lunch while talking about her new start in life and what was next. To our surprise she said she has 20hrs a week work BUT she asked for help getting weekend work so she may get on her feet faster. This girl could have easily hit harder times being Homeless but a few coffees and a helping hand from Bernie and I things are looking awesome.

Excited about her getting a new job Bernie and I put enough money on her Go-Card to get to work, food for work and lodge, much needed toiletries including female pads which we get asked a lot for because there needed so much when needed.

Both females got excited about going clothes shopping which I put my head down and tried to hide so I not invited haha

Before Bernie and I left she kept saying thank you and what could she do to repay what we were doing, Bernie said the same she always says “When you get on your feet, like really on your feet, do the same for someone else that really needs it” I have no doubt that she will help someone else in the future after she gets on her feet.

But I haven’t told you the best part, this girl was so thankful that within the first hour of leaving I got 3 thank you texts. I have to say reading them and knowing we done good was worth all the time, money and effort helping her. I know I’ll be seeing her a lot over the next few weeks just to be there for her as a friends mostly, but I look forward to seeing her stand proud again.

Now I didn’t write this so people will think I’m awesome. I wrote this so people can see how easy it is to really make a difference to someone’s life. There is people everywhere needing help, other people’s family members.

If you want to know how to help the Homeless, here’s a great start, say “Hi”

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a great day. If you like my writing or what I do to help others please donate using the donation button.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

It's New Year's Day today, the first day of a brand new year, as yet unwritten, so everything seems possible. For a big part we have the power to shape this year for ourselves the way we want it to be, and we can only go with the flow of those things outside of our control.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what happened to me on Christmas Day. My mum had come over to spend Christmas with me. A lovely time! On Christmas Day we travelled to the City to go to Christmas Mass, and we bumped into one of our homeless friends. I introduced mum and him to each other and we had a chat. He had a few bags around him that held all his possessions. In one of the bags he had a few chocolates, and he insisted on giving me two; one for me, one for mum. At first I did not want to accept, because I felt that since he had so few chocolates he should keep them to himself, but who am I to tell a grown man what he can and cannot give to someone else... I knew this man and I knew that he would give the shirt off his back and have nothing and he would still say he had everything he needed. Money and possessions mean nothing to him. One time a long time ago I tried to make him keep his two sleeping bags instead of giving one of them to me to give away to someone in need, and he pointed at the bags around him and said "I have my clothes, I have my sleeping bag, I don't need anything else. I have everything right here". Anyway, I accepted the chocolates he gave to me, and showed my appreciation, which put a smile on his face. He shook my hand and wished me a Merry Christmas.

In our times of greed, of focus on possession, and of "I want", the words "I want to give" are not heard often enough. This man has so little and still wants to give. Unknowingly he puts those who are more fortunate to shame... If he can give of his few possessions, why can't others with more give more? There is such a need out there...

Mum and I walked on to church, but while walking and all during the Christmas Mass I felt pretty miserable because he had given me two of his few chocolates while I had nothing to give to him. I decided to get him something to eat and a bottle of Coke after Mass (he loves his Coke!) in a convenience store because all other shops were closed. But after Mass I couldn't find him...

It really was on my mind that I had not given him anything on Christmas Day, but then things started to dawn on me due to the sweet words of others... They said that for this man, too, it had meant a lot to be able to give on Christmas Day, to be given time for a chat and to be introduced to my mum. I started to be really glad that I took the chocolates and that he did have the opportunity to give. I also started to be glad I had nothing to give to him, because for him that would have decreased the meaning of his giving. For homeless people too, Christmas can be a meaningful time, and if it is, it is really important that they can give expression to that like anyone else. They may not all have family or friends to spend Christmas with, and so bumping into someone they know, have a chat with and give some chocolates to may mean the world.

And so I have started the new year with an important lesson learnt: that for everybody, however few possessions they may have, it can be important to be able to give, and that receiving in an appropriate manner can mean so much to the giver.

Only a super short blogpost here, but we will be back with more soon! I would like to end by wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year. If you have any New Year's resolutions, I wish you the tenacity to stick to them. If you see a homeless person, please be kind. Simple eye contact, a smile or a friendly "g'day" go a very long way in making someone's day. You never know how something you say can make a huge difference and establish change for someone, give someone just that little push that is needed to turn his or her life around, if not immediately then perhaps down the track when they are ready. You can plant a seed and when it is ready to come to fruition, it will. You may or may not know when this happens, but happen it will.

All the very, very best for 2015, and if you are still on holidays, please enjoy!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl for the Polite Team