Winning the gift certificate is not the ultimate goal of this challenge, however. We want to turn donated dimes into dynamic change.
The dimes for dignity campaign suggests that to achieve dynamic change, we must first treat each other with respect. This thought is encapsulated in Celebrate Outreach's vision statement: Our vision is a society in which all people are treated with dignity and respect, and as a result insures that everyone has safe, decent, affordable housing, enough food to eat, and a means to make an honest living.
What does dignity mean in the daily interactions between those who have housing and those who don't? According to the character "Jack," a disabled Vietnam veteran in the play Blissful Turmoil, a part of The Cardboard Stories tetralogy, dignity begins with a simple "hello" when you encounter a person experiencing homelessness. It's amazing how wearing worn out clothes and carrying your possessions in a plastic bag can make one invisible, even to persons he or she knows. Stopping to greet someone experiencing homelessness not only makes them visible again, but also reaffirms their humanity and worth. That's respect, and it is the beginning step toward housing and wholeness for our neighbors in need.
" . . . dignity begins with a simple 'hello' when you encounter a person experiencing homelessness."
Dropping dimes in someone's cup or a Board member's "Dimes for Dignity" bottle will be insignificant if this action is not connected to ending homelessness. For our part, Celebrate Outreach will use the dimes we collect to help fund the Homeless Persons Memorial Service in December, our tiny house project to provide permanent housing for homeless veterans, and other activities designed to restore dignity and end homelessness.
So, are you ready for zero? It has been said, "Change is difficult. Not changing is fatal." The first step to dynamic change for homelessness is perhaps the simplest: give us your dimes!
If you would like to find out how you can participate in Celebrate Outreach's "Dimes for Dignity" campaign, contact Board President George Bolden by clicking here.