Everyday, we can see many politicians giving speeches – in the news, on the web, or even on the stage for important events. Politicians discussing their plans, talking about their agendas, talking about what they have accomplished.
Sometimes, not everyone pays close attention to what politicians say. But when the 16-year-old Kevin Barber from San Diego watched an online video of Albuquerque City Mayor Richard J. Berry on TED Talks, he paid close attention – a decision that would lead to changing the lives of many others.
In the video (see below, Mayor Richard J. Berry talked about his program that helped homeless people get a job of their own. It all started when he saw a homeless man holding a sign, asking for a job. The mayor then discussed how he came up with the idea of helping homeless people earn a living.
The program involves a van driving to the city’s homeless shelters, asking homeless people if they want to help pick up trash, debris, and basically do some minor clean up on the city streets – and, in return, be paid for $11.50 an hour.
At first, the CEO and President of the non-profit organization Alpha Project, Bob McElroy, was a bit doubtful about the program, fearing that some homeless people might just use the money they’ve earned to buy alcohol or even drugs.
However, Bob has witnessed the change in the looks on the face of the homeless people and their self-esteem getting a boost, which earned his full support for the Wheels of Change.
The program already has its own GoFundMe account for its expansion; especially that there are now more than 100 homeless people on the waiting list, wanting to work.
Kevin’s program has already made its way to other cities, such as Chicago, Illinois and Ft. Worth, Texas.
More than just providing homeless people an opportunity to earn money for themselves, Wheels for Change gives the homeless a chance to prove others wrong – other people who immediately tag panhandlers as lazy people.
Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to make their lives better, and sadly, some homeless people just didn’t have that opportunity – but Kevin Barber changed that in a major way.