What is my mission and why have I decided to dedicate myself to this mission?
I first became homeless/at risk when I was a teenager in Madison, Wisconsin USA. Many times I have been homeless due to disability issues related to injuries sustained during my time in the United States Marine Corps. The most recent time of living being homeless lasted for around five years. Thankfully, I was able to locate a subsidized apartment in November of 2018.
I have come across a lot of misconceptions and myths concerning those on the streets. Unfortunately there is much misunderstanding about who is homeless and the causes of homelessness. It is not just the alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill, but there are many people who find themselves homeless through no fault of their own. A scenario that often plays out in Madison, Wisconsin quite frequently is Mom and Dad working two jobs each and although they are working the two jobs it is hard for them to make anything above poverty-level wages because they don’t get scheduled to work enough. Some employers don’t give workers sufficient hours as a way to avoid paying benefits. Meanwhile their children do their best to maintain good grades in school. We currently have over one thousand children in this situation in Madison. This issue is not unique to our local geography; It is a Wisconsin issue, it is an American issue and it is a global issue.
Our objective is to do no harm. There is no shame when people are doing their best. People should not be blamed when they suffer emotionally, physically, mentally, they should be helped, especially when it comes to finding an affordable place to live.
Whatever a person’s beliefs, it doesn’t matter what faith they are, or even if they are an Atheist, everyone is valid and important. Please know I have no hidden agendas and am not trying to convert anyone to a particular belief or doctrine. The only desire here, is to help in whatever way can be done.
I really believe that deep within each individual is the tremendous potential to achieve personal goals and obtain those desires within the heart space. I have gone from practically nothing, living in a van with my two dogs, to becoming debt free. I have being able to secure housing, and recently purchased a vehicle with a pre-approved loan from my Credit Union. I purchased the vehicle so that I will be able to travel, meet like-minded people and be able to book concerts and public speaking engagements.
My hope is to help others who struggle, to help them reach their true potential and live the good life they were meant to have. We can do this through the process of Each One Reach One (EORO), that is by mentoring and helping people get the skills they need to overcome obstacles in their lives. And from there, Each One (person) resolves to Reach One (person) in other words, those that have been helped turnaround and help someone else to Rise Up!
A large percentage of donations received electronically will go toward assisting with immediate needs of those that are homeless; the basic necessities hats, gloves, scarves, jackets and even gas for their cars.
Over time, I will be booking shows and public speaking situations. I will be performing original songs that I have written, and singing some songs written by other people. When speaking, sometimes just telling my story, my faith, and my desire to overcome my restrictions physically, spiritually, and mentally. Sometimes I will be teaching based on my own interpretations of spiritual sacred texts.
Funds raised from these public events will be used for the long term goals. Helping people with things like security deposits or maybe first months rent. As this program becomes more stable, I hope to establish a Board of Directors, and turn this grassroots effort into an official non profit program.
My main focus is on those that are homeless. However, I believe this journey is also about sharing of information and tools that I have used to navigate this very human and spiritual experience. I have endured suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally and believe I am now ready to share the tools that I used for my journey to find a healthy balance of the three pillars: Mind, Body and Soul.
Be well, The Reverend AJ White-Wolf
* Revised with the help of Editors and Ghost writers October 22, 2019