I do quite a bit of volunteer work for non-profit and privately funded organizations that help to change the world that we live in to become a better place. When I was working as a biologist, I worked and volunteered to conserve natural resources and animals because I love them. But then one day I had a wake-up call and realized that I didn’t really hate people and thought “I want to help save people, too!”.
There are people in this world who are saving lives everyday, but there are also organizations that help people get their lives back on the ground or help them to develop something that we would call “normalcy”. One of my first volunteer efforts was with the Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness (PCEH) where I’ve been a volunteer photographer for three years now…photographing their fund raisers and awareness events throughout the city. PCEH is an incredibly successful program in Philadelphia and it is not a homeless shelter. They help the homeless and at-risk families re-establish their lives. They have a group that goes out on the streets twice a week to talk to the homeless and tell them about the services that PCEH can offer them: re-establishing their identity and getting identity cards, getting a job interview and providing showers and interview clothes, finding jobs, and most of all…finding them a place to live so that they aren’t living on the streets. Their program SafeHome Philadelphia is a safe and privately funded alternative to the homeless shelter system. In addition to finding homes, SafeHome links these new established families and individuals to services that can help provide them with continued stability so that they aren’t living on the streets or in the same situation again. In cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, SafeHome has had an 85% success rate over the years. Here in Philadelphia, SafeHome has had a 90% success rate and has ended homelessness for 41 families (including 102 children) in just two years because of wonderful caring individuals who provide even the smallest of donations.
PCEH holds an annual art auction event that raises money for the SafeHome Philadelphia program and it is being held tomorrow night. In addition, they are also holding a Texas Hold-Em Poker Tournament. This is the first year that I’ve had one of my photos up for auction as well. Today is the last day to register for this event so get to it! There’s always lots of great food, great people, and great fun. So go register now!
Below is the photo that I will have in the art auction tomorrow night! Even if you can’t make it to the event, you can still give a donation to SafeHome Philadelphia through their website.