Wanting to see things change

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not.

"The Lorax"

(I love kid movies and this is my favorite quote ever)

I haven't done this before. I'm only 17 years old, but I think I have had a life-changing experience.

On May 26, I went to see the film, Epic, with my family members and as we left, a woman called out to me. She asked if I had any food. I said no, I'm sorry, and she began to cry.

This is what she said: "I am sorry to trouble you. I have been looking through the trash to find something to eat. Is there any way you could help me? I have been homeless for 38 days and I am starving."

I gave her the $4 I had in my pocket. She said, "Bless you," and walked away very happily. As a 17-year-old girl, I was broken-hearted. I wanted to take her home, give her food, and let her shower and give her clothes. This can't be her fault that she is homeless. This was also 11 at night. I knew she would not have a place to sleep that night, but it was hard for me to see her walk away.

I am asking you to publish something about this. I know that some homeless people are bad, but they are also scared, hungry, alone, tired, and have no shelter. I am asking, that as humans, we take care of each other by having homeless shelters. Yes, they can attract violence, and yes it can maybe cause some harm to Oak Park, but I ask this, not as a Catholic, or Christian, or Jew, or Muslim, or whatever I choose to be. I ask that we put an end to this. Instead of building a luxury water park in a pool that was just fine the way it was, that we give that money to help others, to take care of each other, that we put a roof over people's heads, give them warmth, and maybe a shoulder they can lean on. Something that can help not only that poor woman but others like her.

I don't know what one voice can do. I don't know what one 17-year-old Catholic high school girl can do, but as a town I think that we can do a lot. Please, I ask you to think about what we could do to improve others' lives. It broke my heart to watch that woman walk away. I don't want to see it ever again. There is plenty of room for a homeless shelter. There is more than enough room in our hearts to open them up and let others in.

I not only want a homeless shelter, I want a center that helps these people find jobs, to shower like we do, have fresh clothes like we do, and most of all not be scared or hungry. We can stop this problem because if we stop homelessness around us, it could go nationwide, and then hopefully before I die, worldwide.

I want to get the word out there.

I want to see change.

Rachel Kolodziej is a member of the Trinity High School Class of 2014.

Reader Comments

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Rachel from Oak Park  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 2:12 PM

Nancy, I know a lot about PADS, I would love to be a volunteer, All I am asking is that maybe, there could be a building for PADS, instead of the schedule, Have a building, that everyone will know,

Nancy Ford  

Posted: June 5th, 2013 4:22 PM

Rachel, PADS helps hundreds of people (in and around Oak Park) transition back to stable housing every year. We provide emergency shelter (in Oak Park, Forest Park, Berwyn and Franklin Park), a daytime Support Center (in Maywood) and supportive housing throughout west Cook County. All this is made possible by generous support from 1,000 volunteers. We'd love for you to be one of them! In the meantime, Trinity HS has scheduled a community service project with us in August. Hope to meet you then.


Posted: June 5th, 2013 10:30 AM

Hi Rachel, I recognize that you heart is in the right place and as a Trinity HS attendee, YOU are in the right place to initate positive change on behalf of the homeless. I graduated from Trinity many years ago and I know that their committment to supporting causes such as yours has never diminished. It is a worthy project that many students and their parents will gladly embrace. Good luck!

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: June 5th, 2013 12:16 AM

Rachel, there are a lot of resources, right in Oak Park, for those who don't have permanent residences. Contact the Oak Park Township http://www.oakparktownship.org/ for more information. They work with West Suburban PADS http://www.westsuburbanpads.org/ which is an "agency whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in Cook County's 20 near-west suburban communities."

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