Tag Archives: homeless

We Are Visible Brings New Voices to Homeless People

A year ago, many lives were forever changed after hearing Mark Horvath speak on the Gnomedex stage. Mark is the founder of Invisible People, and the man responsible for bringing a voice to homeless individuals everywhere. Mark is not only out on the streets helping connect people with services. He isn’t simply spreading the word about the problem. He is changing the perceptions that we have had for years – one story at a time. By giving homeless people a voice, Mark is changing the world – one person at a time.

Horvath – better known as @hardlynormal on various social media outlets – is quick to point out that this story is not about him. He will be the first to tell you that this is about them – the people he works tirelessly to help. He is simply an advocate… a mouthpiece, of sorts. While that is true, the man himself deserves much respect, admiration and support for what he is doing. This is why I am so excited about his newest venture. This is something I can totally throw my weight behind – and I encourage all of you to do so, as well.

Mark’s venture is named as it is for a reason. Homeless people often are invisible to the rest of us. We’ve trained ourselves to not see them as we walk by. We don’t want to know their stories. Too often, we automatically assume that they got where they are due to drugs, alcohol or laziness. Even though my assistant Kat has long been a friend of – and loud advocate for – Mark, she didn’t truly understand until she had a small experience while here in Seattle for Gnomedex last month. She was standing outside with a few other attendees during one of the after-parties. A homeless man walked up and asked if he could bum a smoke from them. Without thinking twice, Kat pulled out hers and handed a few of them to the man with a smile. He went still for a moment, and then an enormous smile broke out on his face. The man said, and I quote her directly: Thank you for seeing me, ma’am. No one ever SEES me out here. Those words shook her to the core. She and my brother Adam went on to have a half-hour conversation with this gentleman, learning about his story and his life.

THIS is why Mark does what he does. Homeless people shouldn’t be voiceless and faceless any more than the rest of the population. Even if they did get into their situation due to mistakes they’ve made, they still deserve the resources and compassion to help them dig their way back out. This is what We Are Visible is all about.

We’ve seen the power of social media in countless ways. We KNOW what kind of an impact it can have. Think back to Drew’s fight against Cancer, or to the earthquake in Haiti. We made a difference – a BIG difference. People pay attention to social media. Things happen because of social media. Mark recognizes this, and hopes to harness that power to help connect homeless people to the resources they desperately need to change their situations – and their lives.

@Project5050 sums it up best when she says: “It’s time to pull the tape off the mouths of those who truly understand struggle in America, and hand them the microphone of social media.”

How can you help? It’s simple, my friends. Join the Facebook page. Follow the movement on Twitter. Use the hashtag #wearevisible to help spread the word. As more homeless people find their way to social media platforms, they will need all of you to show them the way around. Help connect them to the resources who are also hanging out in your online communities. Learn their stories and become their friend. Change the world – one story and one person at a time.

Who is Your Favorite Superhero?

By definition, a Superhero is a fictional character of “extraordinary or superhuman powers” who is dedicated to protecting the public. In my mind, though, a Superhero is something far more basic. It’s that person you know who is fighting to raise cancer awareness. It’s the man who travels the country, telling the stories of homeless people. A Superhero is a person who goes above and beyond themselves to try to make this world a little bit better for all of us.

A Superhero doesn’t have to be famous, or get much recognition. They don’t have to have their name splashed on billboards, nor their tweets retweeted by thousands. They simply do what they do because they are truly passionate about helping others. They don’t do it for fame or glory or even money. They do it because they care.

Who are the Superheroes in your life? What makes them someone you admire? I’m willing to bet we have them right here, within our own community. Let’s share their stories, and help them continue the work they love so much.

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What is the Nicest Thing You've Ever Done?

I couldn’t help but smile as I read a post on Geeks earlier. The original author reposted a story that she had read somewhere. There is no attribution, simply because it was originally posted online by someone who wished to remain anonymous. The story tells about a kind act the person did for a teenager in need. At the end of the story, the Geeks poster says that it always makes her smile, knowing that the World we live in isn’t so bad, after all.

I have to agree. This World really isn’t so bad. I witness and read about random acts of goodness on a daily basis. The work that my friend Mark Horvath is doing with homeless people touches my heart constantly. The work our buddy Drew Olanoff to help raise cancer awareness is astounding. People just like you are making a difference, one small random act of kindness at a time.

What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done for another person? It doesn’t matter if you did not help a homeless teenager and her baby return home. Every act, no matter how small they seem to you, make a big impact on someone’s life. Any time the opportunity arises to help someone else, we should grab it.

This wasn’t the only great thing posted in our community today. I’m proud to say that we have an amazing network of people, working hard every day to bring the latest news, reports, opinions and emotions to life within our small corner of the World.

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