City of Hope

Edgar Mendoza

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Los Angeles County is one of beauty, but also one of strife. For every free or low-cost yoga class offered to dozens, there are dozens waiting to be offered food or shelter.

For every haunted spot in L.A., there are haunting sights under overpasses and along riverbeds.

For every cheer within the Banc of California Stadium, there is a plead for help within our city.

It is easy to see our city through a rose-colored lens, but look closer, the shadows hide L.A.’s pressing crisis.

Countless homeless roam this city, looking only for food, shelter and a place to sleep, but are met only with sympathetic looks or a fleeting glance of pity.

Their struggle is meant with a passing urge to do good, but often times no more. It is difficult to envision what the everyman can do in order to make a difference in their lives, but in truth, it is quite simple.

Anthony Ficklin, monitor for Volunteers of America states, “Everyone can contribute to the cause to end homelessness by lending a hand at local shelters, donating food or goods.”

Silvana Caruana, a coordinator for the Los Angeles Homeless Service supports this, stating” There are so many ways to help.

Volunteer your time in your community with homelessness, when you clean out your closet give away those clothes, donate money to a foundation you believe can help.”

Simple actions such as these, which are by no means costly or too time-consuming, allow every Angelino to live up to the community, the family, that L.A. is so proud to say we are.

We are a city with people from all walks of life, but many of us may never walk through a front door into a home of our own.

With no place to call home, no clothing and no food, many are living day by day, not knowing if they will be able to make it through the day without collapse.

This cycle is never ending, unless we can give the homeless a chance to break it.

Often times breaking the cycle allows for something new to blossom, for hope to prosper.

Caruano stated that “ my mother was homeless when she was a child. Her parents weren’t available to help. She was on her own from 5 to 12 all alone on the streets. She instilled in me to help others that were less fortunate. “

This chance at a better life, given to one person, is passed down to next as a gift. It is more valuable than any inheritance but is not everlasting.

It is up to the next in line to choose if they will take the better life offered to them and keep it solely for themselves, or if they will use what they have to help others.

Many Angelinos are by no means selfish or ignorant of the crisis, we simply lack the knowledge of how big the problem is and how much we can do with what we have.

We know that change is possible but know not how to execute that change in a meaningful way.

Caruana states that the way to change this is “to continue to educate the community on homelessness. To build awareness and to collaborate with other agencies to provide better services.”

Websites for organizations such as The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority and Volunteers of America provide information that can help spread the word and show individuals that they can be a vessel for change.

Something as meaningful as Pauly’s Project, carries with it true dedication towards doing something for the community. We as Angelinos must take this kind of passion for change and apply it to our lifestyle.

We travel along the freeways, not noticing the people who take shelter underneath them. We spend days trapped behind a desk longing for the outdoors whilst others spend days in the hot sun and piercing rain hoping for the indoors.

Angelinos must channel their passion for the black and gold of the Los Angeles football club into a passion for ending those cold black nights and handing the homeless a golden ticket to a better chance at living.

It has been repeated time and time again by countless without fail because it is true if every person gives just a little bit, change is possible.

We are a city of angels, and it’s time we start acting like one because when you help someone, you help everyone.

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