When Joey proposed the idea of starting the Help-A-Human movement, it was like a “you had me at hello” moment! I was curious how it would all work out. He truly felt like we could make a difference with a genuine and authentic effort for sharing. I truly believe that the essence of life comes from doing that which makes your heart richer rather than your wallet and I know that with this movement that essence can be accomplished, from both parties. We have now completed three months of Help-A-Human sharing and each month has proven to be more successful than the previous month. As Danielle had mentioned before, we started with 40 bags the first month, then 60, then 97. It is obvious that people are catching wind of what we are trying to accomplish and it’s amazing to see how quick people are willing to jump in to help. I will admit that the first month we did Help-A-Human sharing at the Margaret Hance Park was an eye opening experience for us all. We encountered a situation by a group of homeless people that quickly arose into something dangerous and potentially life threatening. Thankfully nobody was hurt both in our group and in theirs but what it did was help us realize was that in our minds this seemed kind of “easy” and rewarding. Yet, many of the homeless told us that dark side of being homeless and that it is no easy task. When we walked into that park all we saw was a park, and people and nothing more. To those who have spent a significant amount of time there saw it quite differently. Within that park is a network of cliques, social groups, and boundaries of intentions. There were some people in the park who were genuine altruists; who are willing to sacrifice their own benefit for the benefit of another. There were some who simply would mind their own business and keep to themselves straying from any outside influence or misguidance. And there were absolutely some who were out there with malicious intentions on others. The park is separated with invisible boundaries only known by those who inhabit the park. On one side of the bridge are one group of people with certain intentions and on the other side of the bridge you’ll find a group of people with a different polarity. They understand that boundary line, they follow it. We recently have become more aware of that boundary and tend to spend our time with the groups of people who are willing to accept our sharing and find that they are even willing to do the same. Through genuine conversation we create a bond, a connectivity that cannot be mistaken for anything other than mutual benefit of the soul. Most in the beginning were hesitant to receive our gift, and they were waiting for us to preach to them, or to try and change them because they say that they get that a lot. But they were refreshingly confused as to why a group of people would just want to come out and share stories, and some physical necessities. Over the past 4 months we have been fortunate enough to run into some people more than once at the park and we have realized that we are just as excited to see them as they are to see us! They all wear the Help-A-Human wristbands and it is great to see them using some of the gifts that we have given them!
Overall, my experience with this movement has had a subtly profound impact on my life. It has been something that I have said I have always wanted to do but never knew how or was too scared to start. Yet, now that we have begun I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is no “what’s in it for me” feelings for anyone who has been a part of it, because if you feel like that, please leave because we don’t have time for selfishness, only selflessness.
A letter from Rico
My name is Shaun Rico. I want to share something with you. Please accept this letter and this bag as a gesture of my genuine compassion and desire for authentic sharing and relationships. I have also enclosed an envelope with an address and a stamp. If you ever feel like writing back or sharing something with me, please do. Don’t let fear hold you back. Your words will not be used against your will, or in a book or on TV or anything. Just simple sharing between two simple people. Thank you. Enjoy
It is always difficult to accept the life you have chosen; especially if that life is not exactly what you have wished it to be. In a song by The Avett Brothers they sing, “one foot in one foot back, well it don’t pay to live like that”. I live like that. Wait… I used to live like that. And it’s is not necessarily that fact that I am addressing, rather it is that I have chosen that life. I have recognized that there are no outside forces whose main purpose on this planet is to give me that life against my will. It is not bad luck and it is not my “destiny” to have this life. That’s what I used to say. These were not the cards that I was dealt. I can have pocket aces if I want, but in the past I have chosen a low probability hand, but one that always had a “fighting chance”. Even though we all know that that “fighting chance” was virtually improssible.
I have set myself up to fail. I have chosen the path of least resistance but created the story that my path was thick as quicksand and so much tougher than everyone else’s. I have chosen all of this, every moment to this point in my life has been chosen by me and me only.
It hasn’t been until recently that I have chosen to accept this story. I’ve known this story was going on forever and I have never owned up to it. I have created a story to cover my story. Every time I was in a situation where I needed to cover myself I would create a new story and so on and so forth. My wall would grow taller by the day with bricks and bricks of stories. The stories came to me so quick and so clear they were as real as the Havasupai streams.
I hate money. I hate my relationship with money. I hate that I hate money. I that money IS the root of all evil. I hate that I feel like I’m the only one who hates money. I hate how I judge other people who love money. I hate how I feel higher than those who love money. I hate how I chose my financial situation. I hate that I have at times put myself in financial binds to prove a point that money doesn’t matter. I associate money with greed; I associate money with misdirection in dishonesty. Not all the time but a fair amount. I have chosen this. I do have a dream car, and I do have a dream house, I do have a ring that I want to buy. But it always comes down to money. And because I have such a negative relationship with money, I inadvertently have a negative relationship with those things associated with the aforementioned items. I have chosen this. It hasn’t been until now that I can acknowledge that I have chosen this lifestyle, that I have chosen this perception, that I have chosen my struggles.
Every day is an opportunity… an opportunity to create a possibility, and opportunity to create a life that I want and life that I love.
I want to create the possibility that I can chose my life, that I can chose my relationships. It is not easy. With that comes great responsibility. If I want greatness, I must be willing to adopt great problems. There is no right, there is no wrong. There is no timeline of where I should be at this point in my life. Today is almost over for me, and after today, my slate is wiped clean, tomorrow is empty and meaningless. Tomorrow’s emptiness gives me the possibility to fill it with everything that I choose. Tomorrow’s meaninglessness is a possibility to be unreasonable.
Everyone is just as scared of me as I am of them.
All I can be is real. Like for real real. Not like the pretend real.
To BE…..Rather than to appear.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for accepting my share. Thank you.
I absolutely love the idea of Help a Human. Joey you have inspired me to help out the community in a super fun way! There are so many people that are being supplied with personal needs, that unfortunately they cannot provide for themselves. You have such a big heart for creating Help a Human!
In May of 2011, I became apart of the Help a Human movement. I first joined to support a dear friend and his idea, but this August will be my third time participating and my experience has developed beyond expectations.
The first time I went and delivered the pillowcases I was very timid and nervous to approach people and try to start a conversation. I was terrified of these dirty people just chilling in the park. I saw some people around me make real connections with people, and I didn’t understand how that was possible.
The second time I went out was in July, and it must have been 106 degrees by ten o clock in the morning. I went out into the park without the baggage and thoughts of my last experience, and started talking to people. Some people took my bag and gave gratitude and were on their way. Some people rejected my bag entirely. Some people talked casually with me and kept it moving. That day I met a man named Sundance and we talked out in the heat for hours. Everything from his previous jobs to burritos. That day I learned there are 103 ways to play solitaire, a new definition for the word dyke, and that teeth are not necessary to eat steak. That day I realized that he was a person. Not only was Sundance a person, but so everyone out there in that park are people. The man begging by the freeway is a person. Not a homeless person, a person. For the first time in my life I was grateful, not just for my air conditioned house and pillow top mattress, but for the air in my lungs and the people I have around me.
I look forward to Help a Human every month, and it is not because I want to be a supportive friend. It is more than a donation service, it is people sharing with other people. Sounds simple, and it is, but for some reason that can be one of the hardest things to do.
I am committed to getting the word out about Help a Human. I wear my wrist band almost everyday just so when people ask me what it is I have an opportunity to invite people to join. There have been more and more donations as the months have gone on, but I would like to see more people sharing themselves and being willing to getting an expirence back in return. Last month we had about 90 bags, but there were maybe ten people out on Saturday to hand them out, and I find that pathetic. If you are just looking to make donations, this is not the right place for you. But if you are wanting to make an impact, look no further.
1 of her letters
Inside this pillowcase are things I thought you could benefit from. I want you to know from the get go that I do not pity you and your situation. What ever got you here does not have to keep you here, unless you choose it to. I know the Arizona summers are unforgiving, and I really have a lot of respect for you to deal with it head on. If there is anything you could benefit from that is not in here I would like you to let me know. But besides the stuff in this bag, I would like to share myself with you. My name is Maegan, and I am 19, almost 20 years old. I am a college student at ASU studying environmental sciences and I want to make “green” energy a mainstream source of power for the everyday person. I have great parents and a younger sister, and a totally spoiled dog, and coming out here once a month reminds me how much I appreciate those people in my life. I want to thank you for inspiring me. Not only for dealing with the heat, but to keep on moving through a situation I know may not be ideal. And if it is your ideal situation, I commend you even more. Everyone has problems, big or small, petty or serious, but it how you choose to relate to those problems that makes you. I will be out here on the last Saturday of every month, and I really want to hear your feedback on this letter, on this bag, and maybe tell me your story.
1) When I took part in Help A Human, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. All I knew was I was going to be helping some less fortunate people without homes by supplying them with essential materials. I never would have believed I could connect with these people as well as I did. While I was handing out some pillowcases, I stopped to talk to a particular man who had been sitting down “playing” with copper wire. After I handed him the pillowcase, I sat down next to him and just listened. He informed me that we wasn’t playing with the copper wire, but instead he was making art out of it. He showed me a couple of his pieces that he had completed and they were AMAZING. He had sold the pieces wherever he went along the way to a destination he was not quite sure of. All this man knew was he did not want to be in Phoenix any longer. He told me about an incident where he was stabbed by another homeless man who felt threatened at the time. He spent very little time in the hospital as he could not afford to be there long, and he was back on the streets. Along the way he met a buddy who was now traveling with him. They told me about how they were veterans in the Army and Navy. It was at this point that I was really feeling sympathetic for these men. Men who had fought for our freedom were now living on the streets. However, they had great attitudes, making jokes like “Navy stands for: never again volunteer yourself.” It was very inspiring seeing how they had barely anything to live off of, only the bare minimum needed, and even some of those things they lacked. Meeting these men was truly what makes the experience worthwhile. Help A Human had a big impact on my life simply by connecting with people and knowing that no matter how small your act of kindness is, it means the world to them.
1 of his letters
Hello there. I was told to make a letter that would hopefully inspire you. I hope I can share my story with you and teach you something new that you can carry on for the rest of your life. Please know that I have never shared these thoughts with anyone. Not even my best of friends or family members. Here is how it goes. When I grew up, my body went through a change. I was always the smallest kid in my class up until about third grade. When I reached the third grade, I was overweight. It was very difficult being the biggest kid on the playground when you start to see everyone else as tiny individuals. I was teased a lot of the time, and I was often forced to make friends with the kids that were also overweight. Not that I didn’t want to be their friends, but I wanted to be accepted by everyone, not just kids that looked the same as me. Being so heavy at such a young age was difficult for me because I didn’t understand why I weighed so much. I played baseball every season, I didn’t eat all the time; things just did not make sense to me. So I continued to cope with the struggles of not being accepted and being teased and “different.” However, as I got into the fifth and sixth grade, I started to not care what people thought about me. I realized that if it would make their day to make fun of me, I would be able to accept what they’re saying because they must have a terrible life if teasing people is their only way to be pleased. At this time, I also started to make new friends. Friends that were for the most part smaller than me. At the time of all this I couldn’t really comprehend anything I’m telling you now. But now that I look back on it, I realize that maybe it happened for a reason. It made me stronger and made me realize what people I need in my life. I first must thank the kids that went through the same pain as me because they were there for me through my struggles as well and knew my pain. But I must also thank the kids that took me in and accepted me for who I was. Today, I am a junior in high school and I am once again an average sized kid and I am living a healthy lifestyle. I continue to play baseball in hopes of one day playing in college to pay for my education. I am also pleased to say that I have befriended kids of all shapes and sizes, and I am proud to call them my friends. If there is one thing I want you to take from my life experience, it is to never give in to what others say, and always have confidence in yourself. Do not feed into the negative attitudes of everyone else to make their day. Have the confidence to tell yourself that they are wrong. Remember, anything is possible. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you, and I hope it may have at least made a slight impact. I wish you the best of luck.