As the idea of becoming a non – profit started to materialize so did the possibilities of helping other people that were less fortunate. Where I set out to teach my kids a lesson while at the same time aiding the homeless, again I asked myself why stop there? Along with the homeless there are many more less fortunate people, suffering, and in need of help. As an individual that has studied psychology I am very interested in helping individuals afflicted with mental illness. I once heard that a large amount of undiagnosed cases of mental illness occur within the inner cities. Many of these case end up homeless or wondering the streets. I believe that there are many things that people do not know about mental health, the people diagnosed with mental illnesses, and the many stigmas related to those misconceptions. I feel that it is important to work with the school systems to begin to educate teens about symptoms, medications, and how to deal with mental illness, or friends and family members dealing with mental illnesses.
An aspect of mental health that I would also like to get into in the future is drug, alcohol, and substance abuse. Many people suffer from substance abuse, and many individuals suffering from mental illness turn to substance abuse as a way to self – medicate, cope, and deal with their illnesses. In the future I would like to work with individuals dealing with drug addiction and possibly establish some sober living houses. Giving these individuals a safe haven were they can work with their peers and regain control of not just their addictions, but their lives. A place where they may be able to get themselves back on the right track.
Along with the sober living housing I would like to establish low income housing, soup kitchens, and shelters. I have worked with many different soup kitchens and shelters but I feel the demand for these types of establishments are still in great need. At any given time, I can walk the streets of downtown Philadelphia, and with all the establishments out there, still see about three or more homeless people within one block. I have spoken with a number of these individuals living on the street about the conditions of the various shelters and how they feel about them. Many believe that the services provided by these institutions are substandard and inadequate. Through donations and funding I would like to start to purchase abandon, forsaken houses in order to renovate them to create these types of establishments to improve these conditions in the future.
Alongside of these initiatives, in the future, I would like to create a system for job placement. Maybe try to get funding, or work with local community based businesses in order to try to find employment for those in need. I would like to be able to develop a program or a database where employers and individuals can reach out to each other and connect. I would like to establish relationship with businesses and individuals who set up job fairs to help individuals get back on their feet. Through established relationships, and partnering with other organizations, I hope to get those less fortunate individuals the skills they need to survive and success. I would like to create job opportunities by getting individuals trained in a trade. After training, these same individuals can get involved in other programs I wish to establish, such as renovating houses. I know different programs that will help individuals pay for different trade schools; such as: Plumbing, HVAC, and Carpentry. After completion of these programs The Big Bear Hug, hopefully, will be able to employ and utilize these individuals in improving our community. Giving them hope and a positive outlook for the future.
The final aspect of The Big Bear Hug that I would like to develop in the future would be working with at risk youth. I think that we have lost the sense of community that many past generations had. I grew up with community run sport programs and all the kids outside playing together. I feel that now - a - days a lot of kids especially in the inner city communities fall victim to the streets. A lot kids turn to street life as a way to be cool or with dreams of getting rich. I would like to reestablish community and recreational centers that offer sports and art programs, as well as informative programs such as life skills building, and job etiquette and protocol. Through youth programs, I hope to create a better tomorrow, and maybe spark the mind of the next great community leader. Today’s spark, may ignite tomorrow’s flame.
To further aid the youth, I would like to partner with various children’s hospitals, group homes, and orphanages in order to provide gifts during the holidays and uplifting events. I would like to plan random pizza parties to boost morale and give out toys and gifts during Christmas and Easter. I believe that it is important that the individual children in these institutions feel cared for and know that they are thought of. These children have it the worst during the holidays; whether they are in a hospital during this time or in a facility for juveniles. These children need to know that they are in our forethoughts. A child receiving an unexpected gift in the hospital or group home could really brighten that child’s outlook for the future and may in turn encourage them to one day give back to another individual in a similar situation.
The Big Bear Hug greatly appreciates any contributions that are made. Through your donations our organization is able to not only help the community, but also thrive and grow. The vision of The Big Bear Hug is not only to provide food and clothing for the homeless, but to inform individuals about mental health, and help the youth too. Each donation aids our organization in establishing our future and achieving our goals. Each and every dollar donated goes toward bettering the organization; so, helping The Big Bear Hug, helps those less fortunate. Again our organization expresses our sincerest thanks to all those who help support us. Thank You!
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