Monday, April 22, 2013

Roughin' It and Ritzin' It

One thing that I have been able to take away from my service so far here at The Lord's Place is the fact that homelessness can strike anyone at anytime. Sometimes the reasons for ending up on the streets or someone's couch can be self-inflicted, but other times it can be either bad luck or poor timing. Homelessness has no real "face" or "poster child" to help define it. Despite all of the stereotypes out there regarding the homeless, no one is immune from it.

In an attempt to further raise awareness about the growing homeless population in and around Palm Beach County, The Lord's Place hosts an event called SleepOut annually. This event, held at the Meyer Ampitheater in West Palm Beach, challenges the community to create teams, raise funds, and experience a night of sleeping outside in not always the most ideal conditions. 

SleepOut 2013 was held this past weekend and it was a blast! As AmeriCorps members, we helped people unload their cars, register, and then find a spot within the ampitheater to set up shop for the night. The program that was put on featured various talents from around the community and staff members at The Lord's Place, along with testimonials from clients have utilized the services provided to better their lives. One of my favorite clients, Dorrie, spoke and did an phenomenal job! It was so cool to see someone that has gone through class with me get up in front of a couple of hundred people and share their own personal struggle with homelessness. The event was capped off by the showing of the movie The Little Red Wagon.

Four of the members (myself included) decided to rough it and spent the night in a tent. We remembered to attach the rain guard this time. Thank goodness we did! True to form, the fickleness of Florida's weather showed it's true colors by producing a monsoon of sorts around 2 AM. The event last year was cut short by an untimely downpour, so luckily this one occurred after the program had finished.

So after spending the entire night "roughin' it" in the park, Max, Cori, Cathy, and I were able to "ritz" it up a bit later Saturday night. My friend Andy, whom I worked with backstage at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center during college, is currently on tour with the Broadway musical The Addams Family. They spent the past 2 weeks down in Fort Lauderdale and he was able to secure the four of us with comp tickets to see the show for free. So we dressed up to the nines and headed down to the show!

Our seats were amazing! We were about 12 rows from the stage, dead center. The music was fantastic! The cast was a great cohesive unit and it was an all-around enjoyable show! We even got a personal tour backstage! That definitely made me miss working at the theater.

It was quite an eventful weekend, full of inspiring stories and powerful performances!

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