A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shay Kelley - Project 50/50 - please consider giving her a hand?

Here in Los Angeles I see the homeless problems grow every week.  The homeless population of Los Angeles was somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 at the last count.  I have no idea when that count was taken (some videos that mention this go back to 2005) but I watch the population density increase each month.  May, June, July and August have been hard months.  There are more folks on the street than ever before and no matter what the media reports about the economy, things are not getting better.

At night I "people count". I do this at the beginning of each month and the end of each month. I have a series of blocks mapped out and try to hit the same places on the same nights of a week during the same hours a few times a month.

Most of the street folks used to be sort of northwest of Union Rescue Mission, The Midnight Mission, LAMP and the Los Angeles Mission. The area of San Pedro Street toward Wall Street to Los Angeles Street between 3rd and 7th.

Numbers in the area noted above had increased but in June there was little activity southwest of San Pedro Street.

In July it the area southwest of San Pedro Street increased in population and in August it increased again about three times in those two months.   My grandfather had a laundry business on Gladys where I worked as a teenager.  I know my way around the area and have seen the changes.

This area of expansion of the homeless is southeast of San Pedro to Alameda between 8th and South Central Ave.  This is the area that is up three times in population.

Towne Avenue between 5th and 7th is a war zone. Very high drug traffic, a lot of violence and girls that will do anything for a dollar. One hit off a crack pipe is $1.

While I walk the streets of Los Angeles there is a gal out there who is all over the map .... literally.  This blog entry is intended to be more about her travels and hopefully some of you folks can give her a hand.

Shay Kelley.  This is a gal with a lot of heart and spirit.  She is part way though her project 50/50 - visit 50 states in 50 weeks.

Update 9/17/10 - Shay posted a new blog entry: http://project5050.posterous.com/

Above - Shay Kelley, her companion Zuzu and her 1984 Ford pickup truck Bubba.  Bubba is her mode of transport and most of the time it is her home.  I don't think 1984 was exactly a high mileage year for Ford pickups even when they were new.  ......

From her website:  Hello, my name is Shay. I am a 24 year old college graduate with a very ambitious plan. In January, I began a journey across the country in a blue Ford pick-up named Bubba, with my 11 year old border collie, Zuzu, in the passenger seat. I am driving to all 50 states in just 50 consecutive weeks. I will interview 5 people and document 5 stories in 2 cities in each state each week. I will begin with the capital of the state, and visit one other city or small town in that state along the way. I am looking for an accurate representation of the hopes and dreams, the passion and the focus of a nation that sees life through a million different lenses. I will take pictures, write stories, recording audio and video footage, and I will publish at least one book when I am through. As I travel, I will volunteer at least 10 hours of my time each week, by going door to door to collect canned food items that will be donated to the local food pantry. I will document what these Americans care about, and what we can do as a national family to demonstrate love.

Since I'm going to a new city every 3 days or so, on a schedule to go around the country in a year, this doesn’t really fit into most job descriptions. In other words, I don’t have a way to make any money to get to the next state. This is where my theory on karma comes into play, along with my ‘bucket list’ wish of doing volunteer work as a living. I will truly be living by the idea of what goes around comes around, and if I can enrich the lives of those around me and throw in a dash of faith, everything will be fine. I will live my life by the standard that I shall die empty, because I have given it all away. And I truly believe, that if everyone would give, we would all get, too. It has to start somewhere, and I’m starting with me.

We all get caught up in the race for more dollar signs, but I’ve realized that I need very few things in life, and material possessions are of little importance. All that I really need is the ability to perform the task at hand, and we don’t have to have anything to give it all away. I can always give time and energy to a good cause. After the book is published, I will donate all of the proceeds to an organization that will work to make this world a better place. God is love, and I want my life to be about love too.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

~~~ Muchos Love,

Shay :)

There is a lot more on her website at http://www.shaykelley.com/ 

There are a number of levels of of people who support the homeless.  At the highest level there are organizations such as Union Rescue Mission.  They serve 3,000+ meals a day.  They provide medical, dental, legal services.  The provide a place to sleep and places to stay.  They help families and provide programs and services to help people get on the right track.   They do more in one day than you can imagine.  More on URM at http://www.urm.org/

Mark Horvath.   Mark is another of the folks out there doing what he can to open the eyes of folks in regard to the homeless situation.  Mark is also travelling the USA.  He is out there helping folks directly and spreaking awareness.   Mark is producing video during his journey as he helps the homeless. 

Mark knows what it is like to be homeless first hand.  Youtube has gotten behind Mark and his videos are some of the most watched videos on the subject.  You can learn more about Mark at http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/ and http://hardlynormal.com/blog/  

Please consider giving Mark support.  You can do this by donating, passing along his links or following the invisiblepeople.tv link above where he has listed a few ways you can help. 

At the moment Mark is out there spreading the word, shooting video, helping folks, taking photos and has something of what might be one of the lowest paying "jobs" on the planet, if ... he is even coming remotely close to making minimum wage from donations.  When this trip is over and he is back in Los Angeles he is back to where he was when he started .... homeless himself.

If you want to give a hand Mark and Shay are two great places to send a bit of help.

Back to Shay Kelley.  She falls between some of what Mark does and what I do.  

Shay collects cans and items when she can from where she can.  She is on her own with her dog Zuzu.  Her truck Bubba is her mode of transport and her home.  She has no sponsors.  Here is some of what she collected and handed out about a week ago:

Above - the bed of Bubba holding food and canned goods that Shay puts into the hands where this will help.

She is able to leverage the help of others to provide things that can be used by those in need.  She is one of those people that is one of the good guys.  She fits the phrase, in order to do good one actually has to do something

Shay's list of partial items she has been able to collect and distribute so far include:
  • 12 cases of water
  • 15 ponchos
  • a propane grill
  • 8 propane tanks
  • 2 tents
  • 6 book bags
  • 50 shopping bags of hygiene products
  • 80 pounds of dog and cat food
  • 30 books
  • 25 stuffed animals
  • 5 boxes of kids toys
  • 50 pairs of shoes
  • over 8,000 food items
  • more than 3,000 pairs of socks
  • 60 bags of clothing
.... and she is still out there.

The problems facing the homeless are not somebody else's problem.  Shay makes it her own problem.  She does not look at the shear size of the problem and get discouraged.  She does not come up with excuses as do so many of our elected officials.  Then again, she is not in politics.  She just gets down to business, one person at a time.

Shay's commentary:  After many weeks in the truck, Zuzu and I are sleepin good tonight! :)

I have an easier task than Shay has each week.  I go to Smart and Final or the warehouse district where I pick up healthy snack.  I toss them into my shooting bag and jump on the Metro and head downtown.  20 minutes to Pershing Square and a walk down 5th street and I am in the heart of Los Angeles Skid Row.  I pass out my healthy snacks and if folks want long term help I give them a meal card from Union Rescue Mission.  If they really want a place to stay other than the street I will walk them to URM.  Not a logistical nighmare my any stretch.

Shay has issues of collection and distribution of many different items.  Canned goods, clothes, socks.  3,669 cans of food in 18 weeks on her website count and perhaps that has not been updated in a while.  She moves this stuff around in her truck Bubba.  Bubba is not a new, high mileage, high tech truck.  It needs work on occasion and it drinks gas.  I suppose what I am saying here is Shay can use help and a little help goes a long way with her. 

Shay says ... And a little bit becomes a lot more.. :) 200 items a week X 32 states!

Come to think of it ... if somebody out there has a Ford contact maybe drop a word to them about Shay.  Her 1984 pickup is doing some great work and it could be a feather in Ford's cap when the American auto industry is trying to climb out of being thought of as a heartless bunch of profit seeking folks that produce junk.  Consider helping Shay with a new fleet truck, a loaner truck, tuning up her truck, or some other form of assistance?  It would be a very cool thing to do. 

As a side note on my above paragraph. Ford is aware of what Shay is doing and is looking into assisting.  Ford helps a lot of people and they have loaned Mark Horvath a Ford Flex which was a very cool thing to do.  I suppose I should not be two faced ....  on one hand I publish figures showing how the homeless population is increasing by the moment and on the other hand I expect folks like Ford to help everybody?  Bottom line .... Ford has accomplished a lot more to help the homeless than our government seems to have been able to do. 

Many of you reading this have supported my efforts in the past and continue to help me on a regular basis.  Rather than help me next time around consider helping Shay Kelley or Mark Horvath.  I am still in pretty good shape cash wise for my snacks for the residents of the streets for the remainder of the summer.  I don't have a lot of overhead and am doing well enough on the food items at the moment.  $14 a month is all I have to pay for unlimited travel on the Metro.  Guess there is some silver lining in being handicapped ... cheap Metro monthy passes.

Shay has a donate button on her website at http://www.shaykelley.com/ so feel free to give her a hand there if you want to help her help others.  She accepts paypal and all forms of payment.  You can find her on facebook by looking for Shay Kelly, on facebook at Project 50/50 and on twitter at http://twitter.com/Project5050

Mark has a page on his website where you can help him at http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/invisible-people-homeless-road-trip/  Feel free to help either of these folks or both of them.

From a CNN story on Shay:

Denver, Colorado (CNN) --

When Shay Kelley lost her marketing job she got worried. When she lost her home and her car she got mad.

"I went off into the woods and I started yelling at God," she says. "I didn't know why God would lead me up to this point in my life just to have me left with nothing."

"I was like, 'Just tell me what my purpose is, tell me why I'm here and if you'll just tell me I'll work harder than for anything I have ever worked for anything else in my entire life.' "

Within weeks she had her answer: Travel to all 50 states in 50 weeks. Collect canned goods for charities along the way and take a ton of pictures. She has dubbed it Project 50/50.

Gallery: Project 50/50 She stayed with friends while she waited tables and got together enough money to buy "Bubba," her 1984 Ford pickup truck. She packed her camera, which she calls "Roxy," and her dog, Zu Zu, and hit the road.

She began on New Year's Day in South Carolina, randomly going door to door to collect canned goods.

"I set a goal of 200 cans a week, which doesn't sound like a lot, but the premise is [that] doing a little bit adds up to a lot," Kelley says. "After a year, [that's] 10,000 canned food items."

She began to meet homeless people as she dropped off the canned goods, and she says they have surprised her with their generosity.

She met Donald, a retired Navy sailor, at a library in South Carolina.

"He invited me to go to lunch to buy me a hot meal because I had been eating PowerBars for three days," Kelley says. "I found out after he left -- after he paid the tab and paid my meter -- that Donald was homeless, that he was actually living in the shelter."

"That was the first week when I learned the people with the least tend to give the most."

Donald was one of the first people she photographed. She posts her pictures on her website and Facebook page as she goes. She has more than 1,000 Facebook fans following her travels. 

(Side note by Myles:  As of today, 8/31/10, Shay has 13,928 fans following her on Project 50/50.)

One of those Facebook followers is Laurie Holleman Sherrod, who contacted Kelley with an unusual request:

She asked Kelley if she could find her son, Trey. The last time she heard, he was living on the streets in Santa Cruz, California.

"I thought that's crazy, how do you find one homeless person in an entire city?" Kelley recalled.

But she agreed to try and sure enough a few weeks later she happened upon a nice young man on the streets of Santa Cruz.

"And then here I am sitting around the table with Trey shooting a video for his mother who lives in South Carolina."

I learned the people with the least tend to give the most.

As with everything that has happened to her so far, she credits her faith with guiding her.

"It is so important to me that God remains in the forefront of my life," she says. "He leads me. He tells me to go right or go left. I can't really explain that to people, but I don't do anything, God does it all. I'm just standing here."

Through her photos she captures people down on their luck, but not ready to give up. She says it has made her own uncertain future easier to deal with.

"I just hope that people who are in really rough situations will realize that God didn't forget about them. God is just trying to prepare them for something even bigger, even greater and even more blessed than they can even imagine."

--Shay Kelley, Project 50/50

Myles Rose is the founder of Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   I offer consulting services to various amplifier designers and manufacturers.  The link www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com has links to music industry forums which I moderate and direct email contact information.  My shop is located in the complex at www.65amps.com.  If you wish a tour of 65 Amps please feel free to contact me directly.  When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission - www.urm.org 

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