Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Warm Hearts offers help, warmth for the homeless
Fareeda Mabry, founder of Operation Warm Hearts, recognizes the need to keep Philadelphia’s homeless warm this winter through organizing blanket drives.
Last year, Philadelphia native Fareeda Mabry, 33, started a grass-roots organization known as Operation Warm Hearts with a simple goal in mind: Help those who cannot help themselves. The organization is seeking to collect and distribute 1,701 blankets across the Philadelphia region for those who are unfortunate enough to find themselves trapped in the cold this coming winter.
The organization was formed by Mabry with the help of Justina Shaw from the nonprofit organization, OPPORTUNITIES, and friends Carl Daniels, Nakisha Peterson and Tarisse Iriarte.
“They helped pushed this initiative on the ground by taking donations and playing a major role in the street team,” Mabry said. “We meet people where they are. If they are living on the streets, we go to them.”
Currently Operation Warm Hearts is looking to maintain the relationship that they have with Shaw, by working with OPPORTUNITIES. They also plan to build partnerships with other organizations.
Mabry is a product of Philadelphia’s Olney High School, graduating in 1997. Attending Peirce College and the University of Pennsylvania later, Mabry considers herself a “maverick,” and a community leader who is “from the people and for the people.”
“The same people we elect, some turn to elitism and it is hard for people to relate to them,” Mabry said. “I want people to still relate to me as a sister, a cousin, a daughter, a niece and a friend.”
As housing and social service cuts decrease and the economy continues to pull itself out of a recession, it is estimated that across the country there are approximately 200,000 to 500,000 Americans who are currently homeless. It is estimated that there are approximately 4,000 homeless people in Philadelphia on any given day. This includes those who are in shelters or on the streets.
As a result of the economic downturn, Mabry and her team wanted to address this particular need. Starting out at first by accepting only blankets and comforters, Operation Warm Hearts now accepts items such as soap, toothpaste and shirts.
“We are looking to do a blanket drive every year from [Oct. 1] until March 1,” Mabry said. “As we collect, we give to folks who are in need and also receive requests from low-income families to provide support.”
Last year Operation Warm Hearts serviced more than 800 homeless families and individuals. Mabry hopes to partner with more organizations and political leaders as the organization moves forward, so that they may continue to have blanket drives.
Although its initial goal is 1,701 blankets, Mabry said that she is looking to collect double that number since Operation Warm Hearts is also supporting the Occupy Philly protestors camping outside City Hall.
“Philadelphia grew from a few hundred inhabitants in 1683 to over 2,500 in 1701,” Mabry said, on why the organization chose that number for its goal. “Before William Penn left Philadelphia for the last time on Oct. 25, 1701 he issued the Charter of 1701.”
William Penn envisioned Philadelphia as a ‘City of Brotherly Love,’” Mabry added. “He was realistic enough to know that law, not love, is the mechanism that regulates the interactions of men.”
Currently, Operation Warm Hearts is not holding any blanket drives. Mabry said that she is looking to students, volunteers and others who may be interested in doing them while also increasing Operation Warm Hearts capacity to service more individuals.
“Operation Warm Hearts knows that it is the simple things that can help keep a person going when they are losing everything,” Mabry said.
Anyone interested in volunteering time or donating to Operation Warm Hearts can contact Mabry at 267-707-8979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Operation Warm Hearts.
Dominique Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Not sure if Sabur was also charged with robbery…because police claim, Sabur reached for an officer’s gun. When has anyone in African American history seen or heard of a black man who reached or had any kind of weapon and is still alive to speak about it? The other officers would’ve filled him full of bullet holes.
If you do not believe me, ask Amadou Diallo only 22 at the time of his death… There was no justification in the increased level of force and the level brutality taking Sabur into custody…
Monday, January 11, 2010
After watching the movie The Blind Side, a movie based on a prolific true story about a African American young man whose mother was a drug user and he lived in the projects. A Caucasian family took interest in him becoming his legal guardians and groomed him to be one of the best players in the NFL.
After seeing the movie about Michael, I was bought to think about how many other Michaels there are in the world that comes from broken and/or dysfunctional homes. It was personal for me, as my little brother, who many would consider a very blessed young man, straight A’s, football and basketball. Even made it to “Whose Who”…My little brother is an example not an exemption. Although both my brothers and I were raised in a single parented home. I think about those who are like my brothers best friend Gerry, who does not have either parent…no mother nor a father.
Over the years after my parents marriage, I often times reflect on my father, him as a man and him as my father. His faults and the lessons I have learned from growing up with out him fully present in my life. As a young lady…it’s hard, creating basically a skeptical cynic from birth about life, love and relationships. Being a child on the receiving end of broken relationships…it’s tough. Yet, I am happy I had one parent even if the other messed up!
What about those living with no parents? Could you have live on your own 12 or 15? Each year, thousands of young people “age out” of the foster care system, many without family or economic supports. Without connection to a caring adult and support to plan and prepare, these youth face steep challenges, including higher rates of unemployment, poor educational attainment, health issues, incarceration, and homelessness.
When I first met my little brother friend, Gerry, who lives in foster care with six other foster children, now brothers and sisters, mother and father…where there was none before. I know Gerry has it hard. He said to me one day, “Ms. Fareeda, you should adopt…adopt a boy”…kind of threw me off, and after looking into his life a little deeper I begin to see why he said what he said….He was looking for a chance or to give someone else a chance and an opportunity at life.
Although a well, soft hearted, mild mannered very caring young man, who I come to love as my little brother…I learned that Gerry’s living conditions in foster care are no better than if he would be living in a shelter, alone…He has trouble in school. Even as a teen, he urinates on himself, and wreaks sometimes where my family and I have to make him wash up, and provide him new socks and under garments. He cannot help his situation. Not only has he lived in the refuse…the other children do as well. It breaks my heart. Gerry is a good kid and could very well be a great man. The young mind is so impressionable.
My point with this blog entry…how are these children being prepared for life? And what programs are people are tapping that potential?
In school, behaviorally and academically they are just passed along so teachers do not have to deal with them. The movie bought to light a scary reality for many children who reside within the walls, and subways of Philadelphia streets, a real reality for those children who live within the shelter and the foster system and are still not getting adequate care….
“Approximately 3,000 children come into out-of-home care in Philadelphia each year. Many of these children are placed in temporary foster care while the family and social workers work together to build upon a family’s existing strengths, address concerns, and when at all possible, reunite the children with their family in a safe, loving home.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible, and it is sometimes necessary to find another permanent placement option for a child – in many situations this means adoption.”(1)
Unfortunately every homeless and parentless child cannot be brought about like the movie. Gerry lives in conditions that groom him for doom. What is up with the foster system? Are there provisions in place to make sure foster parents are not just collecting checks from the government and actually taking care of the Gerry’s of the world? I’m not a parent yet after learning more about him, I am inclined to help others who are like him and live like him. Is the foster system preparing or breeding individuals for prison? Is the foster system flawed or are the folks adopting many children abusers of the system?
We know all children have aspirations, strengths and talents, and the potential to become fully participating citizens who contribute in a range of fields. Yet, the main challenges facing young people in foster care and in the welfare system are: (1) the culture of low expectations for those in care and (2) the lack of accountability or real motivation for success or failure. A principle challenge is changing the thinking and current practices prevent many from taking on individual responsibility for preparing for a future of successful independence.
Until that happens, most young people coming out of the foster care will not be prepared for college and meaningful careers. Too many will continue to end up homeless, jobless, and incarcerated, without the resources they need to become successful adults. The fate of these children depends wholly on the goodwill of the community and their personal ability to persevere.
Life, Liberty and Neighborhoods First!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
-- Chin-Ning Chu
Remember, "if they can't use the comb, don't bring them home..."
This is how I began my quest to understand people.
As I grew older, and pass that experience I come to the realization, that most people who are ignorant do not know they are ignorant, and common sense is not really all that common. This type of generational ignorance is deeply rooted and subtly plays on insecurities of people. It is a mere reflection of the person projecting. It speaks to the victims superiority and the victimizes insecurities. There is no reason for it. It really does not matter what color you are if your ignorant, your just ignorant. I come to understand, people hate what they fear most. They seek to destroy it.
If you don’t want to be put in a box, don’t put yourself in one, and don't box others in either.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
That's why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pasha's done drove me crazy
I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that Versace!
Then I spent 400 bucks on this
Just to be like nigga you ain't up on this!
And I can't even go to the grocery store
Without some ones that’s clean and a shirt with a team
It seems we living the American dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings
We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we a'stoop
Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coop/coupe