Just One Paycheck Away
Fighting Homelessness with the Help of The 2011 Dancing With our Stars Miracle Auction!
By Kathy Friend
When you think of me, the things that come to mind don't include "good dancer" or "can cha-cha like no one's business." I am a wardrobe coach, fashion expert and image consultant; I am blessed to be heard regularly on radio and television. I have also written for this fab magazine since its inaugural edition. I know it seems though my job is the epitome of glamour, and most days, it does feel that way. However, my life has not been without periods of poverty, struggle and setbacks.
I have been blessed to have experienced times of real hardship, times when I came very close to losing it all. I’ve been one paycheck, or one unexpected expense, or one illness away from the reality of homelessness. In the darkness of those times, it was impossible to see the steps I needed to take to turn things around. I was too busy and too consumed with tackling the immediate crisis. I needed help and was forced to humble myself and ask for it. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
The truth is, according to the US Census Bureau, in 2008 14.6% of our community lived in poverty. Other sources, such as city-data.com, say in 2009, residents in South Bend with income below the poverty level was 27.9%. We are seeing unemployment at record highs and with an unemployment rate hanging around 9.5%, the stress of the financial burden is tearing families apart.
The epidemic of homelessness is more than just people without homes. It goes beyond shelter. It is education, medical care, food, clothing, employment, hope and self-worth.
It is hard to ask for help. It is hard to admit when things aren’t going according to your plan. It is hard to change your life.
I have a passion for changing lives, so when I was asked to dance in the 2011 Dancing With Our Stars for the Center for the Homeless, I jumped (or rather, cha-cha’d) at the chance.
Those at the Center care. They educate. They provide safety, shelter and food. The Center is changing lives.
According to their website, since December 1988, the Center for the Homeless has “provided more than 700,000 safe nights and over 1.5 million meals to more than 44,000 men, women and children.” For the Center, their goal is to change lives for those who seek help. In order to accomplish their mission, the Center utilizes an innovative model that offers “an on-site structured, step-by-step process to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.”
The Center is committed to changing the community for the better. Here is their mission as stated on their website:
- Break the cycle of homelessness.
- Bring together disparate groups so that each can discover the worth, dignity and potential of the other.
- Pioneer a service model worthy of replication.
Help support The Center for the Homeless in their fight to stop homelessness. Every day the Center cares for hundreds of people, and those people are members of our community. It costs $39 to support one person at the Center for one day. Therefore, $39 dollars is the cost for you to vote for me for the 2011 Dancing With our Stars Miracle Auction!
There are 13 dancers this year, all committed to the cause and dedicated to help raise much needed funds to continue the life-changing work at The Center for the Homeless. Please, if you don’t vote for me, consider voting for one of the dancers. I promise it will be the best $39 you’ve ever spent! Vote online at www.CFH.net; go to the event page.