Editor’s note: We just published, in the winter issue of GRAND, a wonderful article on how to enjoy the snow and cold weather. It’s lots of fun to read, but it doesn’t address the serious problems that severe cold weather brings. Thankfully, our friend, Jack Levine never leaves anyone out.
BY JACK LEVINE
As the chill winds blow I’m motivated to send warm wishes for safety and security to you and your loved ones near and far.
This week’s blast of unbearably cold weather leads me to consider how fortunate most of us are to be content in the comfort of our homes or apartments.
But please remember that so many people in our communities suffer the pain of dire discomfort in the cold, relying on public shelter from the storms…They are hurting, both physically and emotionally.
While our sympathy extends to any person without a home, how distressing to know that a high proportion of our homeless neighbors are veterans who suffer the lasting wounds of battle and young families who are living in the shadows of violence, addiction and poverty?
Homeless individuals and families need the support and generosity of philanthropic problem-solvers, our faith-based charities, community organizations and responsible governmental entities.
This mission of assistance is not just providing the traditional “three hots and a cot” but to develop systemic reforms to prevent the need for emergency care before crises erupt.
Community-wide policies promoting fair, affordable housing opportunities, health access, substance abuse and mental health services, employment training, domestic violence mitigation, nutrition assistance, quality child care and creative solutions for foster youth are needed so that the multiple factors leading to homelessness are addressed.
Prevention initiatives and effective programs are necessary to save lives and enhance quality of life for all families. Showing gratitude for our bounty requires us to invest in the well-being of others in need.
As a nation, we have fallen short in recognizing that despite our founding principles of equal justice, domestic tranquility and economic opportunity for all, too many of our cities and rural regions are sites of abject despair for people whose life circumstances have taken a downward turn.
Homelessness and hopelessness are intertwined conditions. While some of our fellow Americans are enjoying great prosperity, far too many among us are suffering the pain of poverty. I cannot help but think that we are better than this.
While illiteracy, famine, injustice and incessant conflict are disastrous realities in many nations worldwide, our country has both the opportunity and the obligation to serve as the example of fair treatment for our own veterans, our own children, youth, and elders…all of our neighbors in need.
Please join me in advocating for priorities which reflect a caring commitment to lift up the least of us and action by leaders that is worthy of our ethical standards and moral ideals. Living The Golden Rule – doing onto others as we would have them do onto us – is a beacon of hope which deserves to be followed.
Helping the Homeless in the Winter: What You Can Do – click here
Be a Voice of Influence – Ten Tips for Success
While many people in our nation are turned off by the flood of negativity in politics, I believe deeply that the power of the voter, properly motivated and engaged, is our nation’s greatest strength and hope for the future.
When I hear that fewer than half of eligible young adults are registered to vote, and only a fraction of registered voters participate in every election, it makes me both sad and angry. So many people fought and even died for our right to vote, in their honor, we owe it to our nation to take every opportunity to encourage our new generation of teens and young adults to make a difference…one voice and one vote at a time.
As we work to achieve our advocacy goals, I suggest keeping these ten tips in mind:
~ After each encounter with someone new, reflect on what you learned.
~ What you say about someone reflects more on you than on them.
~ Think first and speak later.
~ Decide where you want to be and visit there often.
~ Wherever you go, show up in full sprit, with open eyes, eager to learn something new.
~ Resolve to be the most positive, kind and considerate person in the room.
~ Ask at least three questions of others before you share about yourself.
~ Give every person you meet a reason and a way to keep in touch.
~ Remember names, but if you forget a name, politely ask to be reminded.
~ Admit the errors you commit and forgive the errors of others.
I hope these thoughts give you an understanding of how I try to encourage and excite others to pave positive paths forward.
I take my role as the advocate’s advocate to heart and do my best to contribute to the quality of our lives no matter the challenges before us. Your responses to my outreach are always appreciated! A reply note to email@example.com goes directly to me
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JACK LEVINE
Read more from Jack Levine here
Jack Levine, Founder
The Advocate’s Credo:
Thou art my child, my parent, and my elder,
I love thee best,
But could not love thee half as much,
Loved I not all the rest.