Everyday I thank God for each thing or person in my life. As soon as my eyes meet the sun I say thank you! I am far from perfect but know how far I have come in life. That alone fills me with gratitude. I went to the Time Out Youth programs creative writing group last week. Again, I was there just as a volunteer. Yet I walked out with a large amount of gratitude for where my life has taken me. I was also impressed by the youth that I watched participating in the writing activity. Their outlook on life despite their circumstances is astounding!
I looked around the room and was amazed at the natural talent they displayed. They have each lived less than twenty years but their souls have been rocked by a society or family members that have discarded them. This has forced them to grow up faster than most. Their writing reflected their journeys and what they shared sounded like they lived longer than me.
One touched me tremendously when he shared a story about his sneakers after I told him that they were nice. It reminded me of a preschool student I worked with around 2002 in New Jersey. She walked up to me as the cold wind ripped passed her asking me to fasten her winter coat. When I went to button it I realized she didn’t have any buttons. As my eyes filled with tears, I took the safety pins that were attached to it and closed her coat. I picked up my cell phone and called a friend and shared my sadness. In a few days my friend’s family made sure I had Gap coats for over 100 students including this little girl. Each winter after that the children in my school that needed coats received them. Yes, from the same family.
This young guy that I met is twenty. He has been homeless for four years. He is an amazingly talented young man. He works and has big dreams. I know he will make it. He is forced to live away from his family because he is gay. They discarded him. He still loves them but has no place to call home. A friend gave him the sneakers that I complimented him about. They were too small but since he had no other option he wore them. Yes, once in my car, I cried.
It sickens me that in a country of such great wealth so many children go without. It makes me angry. When you have children you are required to take care of them. You can’t discard them because you disagree with them. I can not stop thinking about this young man. He has touched my heart in ways I can’t explain. He has inspired me to be even more grateful and to work harder to help youth like him. I have chosen to donate a portion of my proceeds to homeless LGBTQ youth because of youth like him. Society has to help these kids. We can’t just ignore them.
Update: There will be a virtual book release party for The Awakening of Graye Moon in December.
A portion of the proceeds from ALL of my books will be donated to Time Out Youth (NC) and the Ali Forney Center (NYC).