You Are Worth It

While driving around town today I couldn’t help but notice the amount of homeless on the streets. It hurts my heart to see so much pain. Recently I have been in pain myself as next week will be the anniversary of my father’s passing – again. Now I know everyone asks for money but I couldn’t help but think about how that can be ill spent so I decided to make some care packages. I had a jar of coins that were just waiting to be utilized so I found a purpose for them – and a great way to celebrate my father’s life. Eventually I decided to call it my You Are Worth It campaign.

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You see my father taught me very young not to judge a man by his appearance or current lifestyle because you never know what they have been through. In fact, my father was homeless himself for the last ten years of his life which is why I feel such a strong calling to help those in similar situations. See my dad was an addict and anytime I would give him money he would buy something he shouldn’t with it so instead I would go buy him some clothes and food and personal hygiene items. I took this into consideration after I exchanged the coins and made my list.

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With fifty dollars of what I like to call found money I went to the store and checked out the sales. I decided that I could easily make six nice packages with the deals I found and was impressed at how far I was able to spread my money.

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Each item was carefully selected.

  1. Toothbrush – Hygiene
  2. Toothpaste – Hygiene
  3. bar soap – Hygiene
  4. 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner – Hygiene/Convenience
  5. Water – Hydration in Florida Summer is imperative
  6. Emergen-C – Staying healthy is key to finding a job
  7. Slim Jim – protein/snacks
  8. Kashi Granola Bars – protein/snacks
  9. Mott’s Gummy Snacks – Morale Booster
  10. Double Bubble – Oral Fixation (helps keep the mind occupied)
  11. Mints – Oral Fixation (helps minimize hunger)

All six bags got one hygiene item a piece, one bottle of water, three packets of Emergen-C, two Slim Jims, two Mott’s, one pack of granola bars, four mints, and six pieces of gum.

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Now my wheels were really turning and I thought it would be great if I could send out a little inspiration to each person, after all the ultimate goal is to change lives. As I was setting everything up in my office, I posted a picture to social media and got some great response. It was touching because this is an issue I am passionate about. It was also interesting because it made me wonder how many lives we could all touch together. I created these little index cards to go in each bag and be the slogan of the project:

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My goal is to spread humanity and pay it forward by reminding everyone that You Are Worth It – no matter how bad the situation may be at the moment. Remind them that there are people out there that care about what becomes of them and give them the tools to succeed. The final product looks like this and will be handed out in my local community throughout the weekend:

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Interested in paying it forward?

Here is what I suggest: Save your change to change the world. Think necessities. Nonperishable food only. NO MOUTHWASH OR SANITIZER(these often have small amounts of alcohol in them)

If you want to contribute but don’t have the time to go through the coin exchange, shopping and  creation of the bags then shoot me a message. I’m glad to do all the hard work and hand out the bags, although it would be great to have people doing this all across the world. If enough people are interested I am thinking about creating a crowdfunding campaign or something so people could donate their spare change. Eventually I hope to make 100 bags a month but for now, 6 is a good start.

Also tag everything #YouAreWorthIt because every human life is worth it.

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Newton Park: The Lost Story

“Once you leave home, you can never go back.” These words echo through my childhood; I refused to stay in my one-lane town. As I grew older, an education and a yearning to see the world pulled me away. One year when I arrived home, they had torn down everything from my childhood home except the fireplace. I found myself surprisingly devastated.

The last place that my family was a family was now gone and I felt my hope go with it. A house built in the 20s, that withstood hurricanes, water surges, and fallen trees is gone, washed away. All that remains is the pathetic outline of the rooms that held many family memories – not just my memories but the memories of children before me. The fireplace that brought christmas wonder to so many families is nothing but a few stones in the sand.

I sat and stared at that sandy stone fireplace and remembered the dark brown bowl we kept our dog’s toys in nestled in the corner. She would be asleep on those red tiles with her head on the toys. I remembered breaking my elbow on the opposite corner and trying to climb the tree out the window with my arm in a cast.

I can’t speak for the families that lived in that quaint beach cottage before mine, but for us it was paradise. My father turned the garage into his ‘home office’ where he kept all his tools and fixed boat motors and hung his speed bag.

Every once in a while we would have visitors in the apartment off the garage. Frequently Reeve Lindbergh would stay as she was friends with Jim and Ellie Newton. When I was in the fourth grade, she came to my school and read some of her poetry – I was in awe.

The Newtons owned the property and lived next door; they were such fascinating people. Ellie told the most amazing stories and showed me pictures of inspirational figures like Thomas Edison. Jim swam every single day even through his nineties – even in stingray season! He never got stung, but I was so afraid he would. They were such kind, loving people and the feeling they gave me has imprinted on my being.

Our driveway was magical, Hibiscus trees separated us from the street creating an archway over our sandy driveway. On the other side of the trees, we had a trampoline and jet ski to play with. A little garden lined the side of the house where I planted flowers and vegetables while learning about the victory gardens of World War II.

The wooden stair case was small and lead into the ‘shoe room’ where my father insisted we keep our microwave for fear of our brains getting fried if we stayed in the same room as it. Entering through a white door with windows you would find an open kitchen/dining room combination with an indoor window that lead to the adjoining closets of two rooms. Throughout the years all three of us girls lived in both those rooms and shared the jack and jill bathroom. We all used that window to sneak into the kitchen and out the door.

The archway from the kitchen brought you into an open computer room and living room with french doors out to the patio and beach. I’ll never forget coming outside as a child and finding strangers using our outside shower. My mother was always very nice when telling them it was private property and not for public use. My parents bedroom had a huge window out to the beach with tye dye sheets on the bed. I was the wild one climbing from tree to tree and building sandcastles.

 

Today those trees are further gone than the home itself. All that is left are a few bricks, stones and benches. The beach is still the same, they can’t take that away. I’ll always be able to sit on the beach that I learned how to add and subtract on, how to ride a bike and surf. My father’s ashes live at that beach.

Tourists may eat their lunch and wash their feet, but I remember the family that ate dinner on that porch every evening and loved their beach cottage almost as much as each other. I wonder what other memories lie in that beautiful home from before the nineties. Seventy years of being other families home, of being on the island before any condominium or hotel was built.

Maybe I was wrong, you can go back home. It is acceptable to visit the memories and go back to a place you have lived so long as you have grown as a person. No matter your surroundings, you are still at your core who you are – everywhere.

xxx

Sam