Today's Happy Day Project is "Gift Card to Homeless," which I think is probably one of the more challenging prompts on the list, but one I'm eager to take on.
I have always had a roof over my head. And a house filled with possessions. And more food than I sometimes know what to do with. I drive a new car, and have money to buy gas whenever I need it. I have always lived with people who love and support me. I have never had to deal with drug or alcohol or domestic abuse. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being, "Living an Extremely Blessed, Comfortable and Blessed Life," I'd put myself right up there at the top of the scale. I am very aware that my life is good.
This fall, I started teaching at the Tech. I love my job. Love it. I love my students. In my class of 19, I have a couple who have just graduated from high school, but most of my students have been out of school for quite a while. None of my students are full-time college students living it up while living the dorm; all of them working (second and third shifts) and taking classes at the same time. Some of my students have small children, and some of them have children that go to school with my children. Most of them have lives that are more complicated than mine, that's for sure. And yet, there they sit in my classroom, twice a week, working on Introduction to College Writing. I have a lot of respect for my students. And the more I learn about all they are juggling, the more I respect their decision to go back to school to try and change their circumstances.
Recently, I found out one of my students in living at Harbor House, a home for abused women and their children. She couldn't come to class yesterday because she had to go to court and testify against her abusive husband. She has a one-year-old son, no car, and English is her second language. She has to take two different buses to get to school. She has no Internet access.
This woman comes to my class. She speaks softly and politely. She is intelligent and motivated. She writes gorgeous paragraphs about the night her son was born and how to make the perfect cup of tea. She is lovely.
"Homeless" doesn't always look like the person living on the street. And homeless isn't always a choice. Sometimes homeless looks like the lovely woman who sits in the front of the classroom, the one who is working hard to change her circumstances for herself and her baby son.
On Friday I will give her a gift card and a note. And I will tell her she is a hero.