We asked Scott Page to share about how the story of compassion continues to be told here in NW Arkansas
When Mollie and I first got involved with Cobblestone Project, Laundry Love was the place we connected because we saw the value in people having their basic need of clean clothes met. Only later did we discover that clean clothes were just a small part of why we were there.
Later that summer when Cobblestone Project asked people in NWA to gather around the issue of homelessness through the 1,287 initiative (with Mark Horvath founder of InvisiblePeople.tv) we were impacted that there are that many individuals in NWA with out a home. However, through this awareness initiative we became learners, listeners, and storytellers.
At the 1,287 event when I heard directly from a homeless person, I listened to how different his life was than mine. My heart broke and my life was changed.
There I learned on a national scale that the average age of homelessness is 9 years old. That night as I slept on the campus of the University of Arkansas, I had a 9 year old daughter in my tent. I realized how blessed I am that night, but I also realized I am required to do something different. So when Mollie and I get the chance, we tell the stories.
That’s what led me to telling the story to our 9 year olds’ third grade teacher, in a parent teacher conference. As she heard the story she asked if I would come share with the students about what homelessness really is, and what it looks like in NWA. We talked about how the kids could really get involved on a regular basis so putting our first foot in the water. One way the students wanted to get involved was by collecting quarters for Laundry Love Project, and they started bringing spring and summer children’s clothes to be distributed to families either at Laundry Love, Our Step, or other area agencies.
There were so many things that impacted me as I engaged with these students, here were a few.
First was there excitement and their willingness to help so one in need their own age, and some even wanted to be a part of the Laundry Love Project.
Second, they gave so many quarters, “third graders”, children who are just beginning to get an allowance are giving out of the little they receive.
Third, the clothes they brought in were in great condition, they didn’t give their hand me downs, their old worn out stuff, they gave their best, their favorites.
The biggest impression this experience has made on me with these students is when they realized how much they had been blessed and that now they have the opportunity to be a blessing to someone in return. It is a great opportunity to be a connector of people when we are Listeners, Learners, and Storytellers.
We all have the opportunity to engage, and it is so important to find way to engage our children with a community in need find a family that you can befriend, the listen to them, learn from their life, only then can we be storytellers.
It stories like this that continue to tell us that our community cares, and that everyone is empowered to make a difference in their community. The Laundry Love community was blessed by the students $215 donation; however, the greater story took place this past month’s Laundry Love Project in Rogers. To our great joy, some of the students actually came and rather than giving Cobblestone Project their quarters, they were the ones who feed them into the machines as they served those in need.
Thanks to the incredible students of Ms. Duncan’s class at Bellview Elementary School. You are incredible examples to follow.