Helping the homeless

Some Red Deer students were very fortunate recently to hear an extraordinary message from a young Canadian visionary.

At just 15 years of age, Hannah Taylor is someone we can all look up to. In 2004, she established The Ladybug Foundation to help in the battle against homelessness.

Her goals include teaching people the homeless are just like the rest of us. And that they need us to love them and care for them.

She also wants to teach everyone to treat homeless people like family and that no one should ever be forced to eat from a garbage can or live without a bed or a home. It was seeing a man searching for food from the garbage several years ago that sparked her mission.

What a simple yet powerful message – particularly from someone so young. It’s so encouraging to see someone at such a young age have such a heart for social justice, and be bold enough to share it with the world. Hannah has traveled extensively, speaking to groups as large as 16,000 people.

According to the Foundation’s web site, homeless people can include low income single mothers, battered women with children, workers displaced by economic change, runaway youths, abused youngsters, elderly people on fixed incomes, those who suffer physical and mental health disabilities, substance abusers, people who are transient as a result of seasonal work, victims of domestic strife, recent immigrants that have migrated to the city in order to find work and escape problems and ex-prisoners.

We all know someone affected by one or more of these circumstances. How would we feel if that person ended up on the street? It’s a problem that is certainly not going to go away on its own, no matter how much society at large may try to ignore it.

How fitting it is for Hannah to visit our City, which has a plan in place to end homelessness in our community. The Mayor’s Task Force on Ending Homelessness was administratively supported by social planning staff, and the department continues to support and participate in ‘EveryOne’s Home: Red Deer’s Vision and Framework on Ending Homelessness by 2018’. It’s the result of the Mayor’s Task Force work.

It’s a lofty goal, but at least community stakeholders have a plan in place to guide them as they move forward.

Of course, we all as individuals – not just as a City – can get involved in easing the plight of the homeless. A 15-year-old girl is traveling across the country spreading her message, raising awareness and educating the public about the issue. We can definitely learn a thing or two about the joy of generosity from this remarkable young woman.