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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Through Al's Eyes


What do you see when you open the door to your place? When your hand extends to the lock with your key at the ready? If you’re like me, you take the fact that you have a key, a lock, and a door to your own place mostly for granted. Walking into your place seems like no big thing.


When I read an update that one of our recipients, Al, sent in this month, I started seeing my own front door differently. Here’s what he said abou the support he received from Benevolent and all the work that the nonprofit Inspiration Corporation did with and for him:
“I can’t believe that with the help of Benevolent and Inspiration I was able to turn my life completely around. I have a great job and a place to live where I pay my own rent. What a feeling. It’s nice to see that there are still people and programs out there that still care and don’t think that homeless people aren’t worth helping. For those people who donated thank you so much. For those who are still out on the street don’t give up - don’t ever give up.”


Reading that message, I suddenly saw things through Al’s eyes. Pictured him coming home from his job as a waiter in a restaurant, wearing the work clothes that Benevolent donors helped provide, pulling keys out of his pocket, turning the lock, and stepping into his own place. The image and the feelings that went with it were overpowering.  Picturing this new reality through Al’s eyes – the transition from jobless and homeless to employed and housed – made it all powerfully real.


Try it. Imagine that you’re Amaya and you’re getting ready to pack up for college – packing yourself and your daughter. Imagine that you’ve just heard that 25 people contributed the funds to pay for your security deposit for your college housing.


Imagine that you’re Toya, the oldest of a family of refugees from Bhutan, trying to acclimate to life in the U.S. and to help your parents and siblings navigate a new country, new language, city life, and more. Imagine the relief of receiving the computer that will help you all to establish yourselves here and then the sheer sensory overload once you start to take it all in.


It’s a cool and mind-expanding exercise, this seeing things through other people’s eyes.  I hope you’ll try it.


- megan kashner
  founder & ceo
  benevolent