Six years ago, we at Union Rescue Mission put together 10 Steps To Address Homelessness in LA. We hoped to start a movement called Youarethemission.com to spur our friends to action. As I read these steps today I realize they may be more timely now than ever, especially in Los Angeles.
Here is the 1st step, although today I might say & write; Change the heart of LA by changing the way we speak about people experiencing homelessness.
Just as The Great Recession became apparent through the exploding numbers of two parent & single father & increased single mom families, Union Rescue Mission made the decision to be guided by our history & The Lord & step up to meet the need.
We opened up a 5th floor wing to make a place for this throng of families.
Among the families, was a single dad, with a son & a daughter, he had recently been reunited with & rescued from foster care.
We knew right away there was something very special about the 15 year old son, Kenneth Chancy.
Despite, living in a van, going hungry, suffering the devastation of homelessness, experiencing the challenges of foster care, Kenneth was a straight A student, Student Body President, & the starting Fullback on the Varsity Football Team.
Immediately, due to to Great Recession, the media descended on URM. When they came, they were very interested in this remarkable young man. ABC, CNN & many more interviewed this young man who had his sights set Harvard & becoming a brain surgeon.
Kenneth was grabbed up by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, flew to CNN in Atlanta, & assisted with a brain surgery. He no longer desired to be a brain surgeon.
He was introduced to NFL Star Nambdi Asomuogh, & was mentored by Nambdi & along with several other bright students taken on a tour of colleges all over the U.S.
Along Kenneth's journey, he befriended Mayor Antonio Villagarosa, Congresswoman Karen Bass, TV News personality Lou Parker, & many more.
One day, Kenneth Found himself sitting with the Duke & Duchess of Tour, Now Prince William & Princess Katherine.
URM's own Kitty Davis-Walker, VP of Public Relations, served as an "Auntie" to Kenneth all along the way. Always looking out for him & connecting him with the opportunities mentioned above. I had opportunity to be his firm & loving Uncle at times.
Two weeks ago, Kenneth's journey continued as he graduated from Loyola Marymount University & his story was told around the world, including The Huffington Post & ABC World News Tonight.
Kenneth was honored by Andre Ethier & The LA Dodgers on Memorial Day & we at Union Rescue Mission are honored to continue with Kenneth on his amazing ride.