Be The Change

Be The Change

Be the Change. Taking a look at things possibly from a different perspective. Being a little bit vulnerable and Sharing Hope.

Building Community

In 2013 I was asked to speak to help raise funds for an organization focused on a homeless shelter. This is what I shared, with some alterations to the talk.

When I found this in my computer and read it, I see the strength within myself. Now, you might ask yourself, "Ya, so?", well for me, at this time, it is huge! As life goes, we all shift and change and grow. I am presently flowing through another shift around the fear of being vulnerable. This article is about building community.
My intention is as you read this, you see a little bit of yourself within the words.

See the growth that you have achieved and the strengths you have to share.

Creating Family

Be The Change

When I was asked to speak I was not sure how my experiences could help in this cause.

After speaking with the director, I understood the concept behind this organization, to developing and creating family.

Family. What does that word mean to you?

Does this ring true to you? - Family =

“A group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation: Fellowship."
Be The Change

My perception is that the shelter has created many families. Some stay together for a short time, some longer. But now it seems  there is a need for these families to expand further than just a few nights.

My understanding is that this organization is about families. About community. About fellowship.

A Little About Me

My family of origin was not pleased with the friends/acquaintances, I chose to be around. I come from what some consider a good family. I chose to live in and amongst a community of people who would beg, borrow or steal anything and everything from you - money, food, shelter, your soul.  Don’t get me wrong, there were a few who would always be there for you through thick and thin, protect you, watch over you, be sure no harm came to you.

You see, I was a drug addict and a drunk.

I have discovered that we all learn from our life experiences, be them good or be them bad. We learn and we can share with others our lessons and gifts.

Be The Change

Life is a Teacher

Life can be a cruel teacher, but as long as we learn the lessons, change can happen. I have seen life changes in myself and others. Today I run my own business, raise my two boys and help where and when I can. This would not have been possible had I not found a new community to nurture and help me along the way.

My son loves to ride a skateboard. He often falls and hurts himself pretty bad. He trusts me when I check his wounds, and not so much because I am his mother, but more due to the fact I have lived through many wounds myself. I have experience where wounds are concerned, and not that I am proud of that. What I am getting at is there are many who come to the shelters who have experience that they have learned during their life. Is there any reason that they can’t practice what they know to help others and help themselves?

We think not! And that is how this orginization works! Families helping Families.

Has anyone seen the movie Patch Adams? There is a line in there that I just love, it goes something like this “ The patients are the doctors and the doctors are the patients”. Basically, everyone helps out, doing what they can. So why can we not do that here?

Here is a LINK to the Patch Adams Video

Patch Adams

Patch Adams

I am sure there are people in our shelters who would open their arms to the chance to share and use their experiences and knowledge. To build a community of family.

  • When was the last time you hugged a stranger? Would the thought ever cross your mind?
  • When was the last time you were hugged? How did it make you feel? Think about that feeling for a moment...

I know years ago, the streets I came from, there were times and people you would not dare hug or touch.

“What do they want from me?”  Would be my first thought.

I am not saying, I did not need a hug or wanted a hug, but the fear or false beliefs within myself would not allow it.


Touch is one of the most essential parts of human development. We live in a society where we now refrain from touch and many people have become out of touch due to this.

In my practice as a holistic practitioner, I work with the person as a whole. Mind, body, spirit. People come for the services I offer and find results. Is it because of what I do, or the simple fact that they are being touched in a respectful way, in a safe environment of trust and love.

I believe and hope this organization will provide an environment of trust and love where all can feel safe and be respected. Isn’t that what families are for?

Acronym for HOPE “help open people's eyes”

Now, let us give HOPE to everyone in this room and those who will follow in the days, months, and years to come.

Let us open the eyes of the community, to the families, to the needs that we hear tonight and give hope.

Before you leave tonight, I ask that you hug someone.

They or you just might need it.

Thank you, Annette Parker

Hugging People

Hugging People


House of Friendship

The Benefit of Hugging