Alternative Winter Break 2016 Post Gaining Some Perspective – Gabriel Korish

By Sharon Schoenfeld
Teens Hear From Jacob Holloway – Police officer – Homeless Liaison Program Santa Monica

Santa Monica. . . To me, this place represented charm, intricacy, and a seemingly perfect little community. I conceived that paradise and a metropolis of dreams were synonymous with this little city. Yesterday, a bubble was popped, as I witnessed the true detail of Santa Monica. I could never have imagined the gravity of the homelessness present simply a few feet away from designer shops and cars.

As we learned about the issues present, I was saddened and sympathetic at the hardships the homeless faced. Then, as we encountered a man named Franklin, a war veteran with a beautiful talent for making little metal designs out of paper clips, my sadness converted to aggravation. I was irate as to where Franklin ended up, and I asked myself “Why him?” I kept this anger within me as we saw new faces and listened to new stories and this aurora grew with each tale of what seemed to be failure.

Finally, I was lucky to gain perspective. This came to me through Alex, a homeless man who serenaded the group with an ad libed song of hope and marvel in the world. As he preached from the depth of his heart and sang with a blissful expression, the idea that a man with only a guitar and a genuine smile to his name could be so happy bothered my pre-conceived resent. I felt hopeful and inspired to bring change from a man so grateful to be alive with nothing. Suddenly, this lack of physical objects I called nothing, paired with the love this man possessed became so valuable. Through a few interactions, I underwent emotional change in various ways. Most importantly, I learned from someone who I would have least expected, that life is always playing a melody, but it is up to us to create the words that compose it.

~ Gabe is a 10th grader from Randolph, NJ. He is active in New Jersey Young Judaea

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