Man creates organization to help homeless reconnect with loved ones after his own uncle was living on and off the streets for 30 years
By Kevin F. Adler
Mark was my uncle. He was the most family-oriented member of my extended family. He remembered every birthday. The year before he died at the age of 50, he gave me an eagle bandana for my birthday. A very thoughtful gift for someone who loves his country and whose last name means “eagle” in German.
Mark was also homeless. He suffered from schizophrenia, and lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years.
For the first time since he died 10 years ago, I visited his gravesite in Santa Cruz. Though it means little to him now, my dad and Uncle David refused to have his memory forgotten, and chipped in for a proper plot of ground to call his own. As poignant as this was for me, I wondered if there was anything I could do for the people still living on the streets, whose lives we forget or ignore each day.
Like Mark, there are many people on the streets who suffer from mental illness, or drug addictions, or severe disabilities. Many people who have problems, just like the rest of us. Some are mental illnesses; some are down on their luck, just divorced, missed payment, bad accident, mounting health care costs, debts, mistakes, chances that just didn’t work out. Many people who have families and people who miss them and love them, just like the rest of us.
I decided to do something about it.
I started Miracle Messages to increase awareness of what it’s like to live on the streets, from the firsthand perspective of those who do; to make an immediate and tangible impact in the lives of our homeless neighbours; to use a bit of technology to help the homeless be seen as invaluable, complete, and human.
Thank you Uncle Mark, for inspiring the idea that led to Miracle Messages. I always loved ‘em burritos, too. I miss you.
Miracle Messages was created in 2014, and helps homeless individuals reunite with their long lost loved ones by recording short video messages. Visit miraclemessages.org to learn more.
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