Hey guys, sorry for the delay on the blog…Allie and I have been in Southern California ironing out some details of our San Diego trip. I have an exciting development to share!
Part of the community impact piece of co-mads is finding a grassroots organization in each of our destinations that is working on issues specific to the region they are located. For example, San Diego has the fourth largest population of homeless people in the states. Therefore, we researched organizations doing hands-on work and making a real difference in the streets of San Diego. I set up a call with Landon, Programs & Operations Manager, of Think Dignity. After our first call, I knew this was the perfect collaboration for co-mads. Despite Landon being from Albany, NY (my hometown), his passion, knowledge, and compassion for the work he was doing with Think Dignity was contagious. I got off the call feeling energized and ready to find 10 other eager people willing to support their mission.
Think Dignity’s mission is to inspire, empower, and organize the San Diego community to advance basic dignity for those living on the streets, through hands-on advocacy and activism. From their Fresh Start Shower program, to the Legal Referral and Advocacy Clinic, the work they are doing is through a human-first approach and they provide services that would otherwise be unavailable. Allie and I got to see this first hand in our visit to San Diego. We spent an hour at the Fresh Start Showers, in which they bring a mobile two-shower mobile trailer to provide access to a safe shower facility for individuals living in various communities throughout San Diego (I encourage you to visit the site to read more about all of their programs here.). We met a man who was working on setting up/cleaning the showers. He had been involved with Think Dignity for about eight years. He had been living on the streets for as long as he could remember, until he got his own apartment two weeks ago. He described how this organization had opened up doors for him and how it had paved the way to him being independent. His positivity and appreciation for Think Dignity radiated and it was contagious.
Over the next few months, co-mads will be working with Landon and their other team members to develop an agenda of what our three volunteer days will look like to ensure a productive and meaningful experience for everyone involved. Allie and I learned a great deal during the hour and a half we spent with these people and we left feeling inspired…imagine what a life changing adventure this will be for everybody after three days. Counting down the days until our first trip in June!