I'm starting a non-profit organization called "Hope for the Homeless." It would be a mentorship program designed to function much like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Mentors would be paired with homeless people in order to help them through their daily struggles.
1. The Place. Where will you make a difference? Describe the institution, community, town or other geographic or virtual space in which you will focus your efforts.
My plan is to recruit as many mentors as possible in the Detroit area where I live and establish the first location. More specifically, I will focus on a small community in Detroit called Corktown. It’s a very poor area with a big homeless community. More specifically, I will find mentors and pair them with homeless individuals I have personally befriended at a soup kitchen.
2. The Challenge. What will you aim to change, and for whom? Highlight what is the need that you perceive and who will benefit from this change.
I have spent a lot of time interviewing and getting to know many homeless individuals. And I have learned that what they need more than anything else is hope and love. A mentorship program will allow homeless individuals to foster a new positive relationship. Each mentor would offer their guidance and help through difficult situations. And they would simply be there to be a friend.
In fact, I’ve already seen the tremendous impact that this program can make by becoming the first mentor to a homeless man named Paul Eugene Brown. I helped him get off the streets and I’m now helping him get situated in his apartment in Detroit. Plus, we’re becoming good friends.
3. The Idea. Your solution – what is the action, product, service, project, change that you will initiate? Tell us how will your idea will succeed where others have failed.
Other homeless organizations are helpful, but they don’t give the special attention and love that each homeless individual needs. The problem with homelessness is that there are many complicated factors that play into each individual case. The diversity of problems are endless: mental illness, physical disabilities, criminal records, family problems and general hopelessness. A mentorship program would enable homeless individuals to receive the special attention they desperately need and very much deserve.
4. The Money. What would you do with your first US$1,000 given or invested in support of your vision?
My priority right now is to recruit as many mentors as possible. So I would use the first $1,000 to get the word out through flyers, and other forms of advertising that would target possible mentors in various areas in Detroit.