Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Construction.. Give em' a break...

Exciting things are happening around Merced.  For anyone who lives here you have probably noticed all the construction around town.  Some may be inconvenienced and upset that their routine is slightly thrown off, however I am thrilled.  I used to be one of those people who always got angry when I had to take a detour, normally because I was in a hurry to get some place, however now I think differently.  I guess you could say I had an epiphany the other day.  If there is construction going on, workers are getting paid, if workers are getting paid they are spending money, more than likely they are spending money in our stores and at our restaurants, resulting in a boost in the economy.  I for one, am grateful to see people being put to work in such hard economic times.  Not only are we getting new roads and state of the art overpasses, we are helping the economy while doing so.  I thought it was so uplifting the other day to see so many workers working on the Bradley overpass project, the sign holder smiled at me and I smiled back, he was probably just being nice but I was so happy to see new things happening in Merced.  Everyone should take the time to be grateful for our construction in this town, it is helping our community in so many more ways than just what meets the eye. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Homelessness: Here we go...

After recently attending a homelessness seminar in Merced, I have a few comments, concerns and thoughts.  After sitting and listening to the issues at hand regarding our issue of the homeless, my mind blew in a million different directions.  The following is purely from personal expierence and I in no way mean to offend or upset anyone.  I come from a very hardworking family. I will admit I never really had to worry about when the next meal would make it to my mouth.  My sympathy for the homeless has recently fallen short after attending a seminar that's intention was to build it.  I realize given the current economy is it really hard to find a job right now, I will never deny that.  However I find it hard to believe that those who are less fortunate than I have all tried to find a job.  Everyday when I drive to school and pass the church on the corner of M St., and Yosemite Ave., I can not help but notice, the majority of the people living in tents on the lawn look perfectly capable of hard work.  I was raised to work as hard as possible and exhaust all means of working before you ask for a hand out.  I am a college student and even at the age of 21, almost 22, I hate asking my parents for anything.  Call it what you will, prideful and such but I simply feel since I am now healthier than ever that I am more than capable of hard work, why should they have to fund my entire life.  I became upset at this recent seminar because the whole time the testimonials were going on, I couldn't help but feel like I was being penalized for having a job and not being considered poor.  There were multiple issues that came up the other day and one caught my attention the most.  A few of the people who were there to state the hardships they have fallen upon also stated they do not think it is right that they should have to obtain a permit to ask for money on the median of major streets.  They felt that was not fair and discriminated them, and here is where I almost blew, then they called out Valley Children's Hospital for the fact they were allowed to sell Kid's Day papers in the median and not have to obtain a permit.  My take is, that money goes to Valley Childrens Charity, to help little kids fight cancer and help provide medical care to children who's parents may not have been able to afford it.  I am absolutely astonished that, that statement was even a matter of discussion.  That money goes to families who's parents are working themselves thin barely making a dollar but still WORKING just to be able to maybe put food on the table, and now you are stating that it should not be allowed? I completely disagree.  I would have thought that being homeless most of the people at that seminar would have compassion for little kids who would otherwise die without the care that Valley Children's provides, however I guess I am wrong.  Our solution to ending homelessness in Merced is not going to go anywhere if we sit and point the blame at eachother and play a childish game of politics when it comes to chairties.  I have an emmense about of compassion for those who have lost their job recently and/or a loved one causing strain on their financial situation.  However there are places that offer help.  Most churches will never turn their back on a person in need, they offer food and clothes possibly even places to stay, yet most of the time the people who I see standing on street corners have never once set foot in a church building to ask for help.  Some programs require that the person stays clean from drugs and alcohol however if you can manage, they will help you.  There are always opitions out there if you are persistant and try hard enough.  The choice is up to them.  I donate to these churches, and these programs and will only donate to them for this cause.  I do not give out money any longer when I am out about the town.  After a woman approached me at Applebee's with one story then the VERY NEXT NIGHT approached me at IN N OUT with a very different story yet still asking for money.  My response to her the second night was, I am sorry I will buy you a hamburger however I donate my spare change to my church which I can give you the address to and you can ask them for help.  They will not turn you away.  Her response to me was a sarcastic laugh and then a "Ha! No thanks." From that day forward I promised myself I would only donate to programs who are helping homeless the right way, and I have. Once again this is only my opinion and I am in no way telling everyone to stop giving money on the street, I am just asking that you educate yourself enough to know a persons true intentions.