Saturday, November 07, 2009

Walking the HomeWalk

So this was me and Maiya's 2nd year doing the United Way HomeWalk, a 5K to raise money and awareness about homelessness in LA County. About 4,000 people participated in the walk, including Team LTSC. We got out of the house by 8:15 in the morning. It was pretty cold compared to last year, temperature maybe in the low 60s when we started.
Larry, Julie & Bill

Carried Maiya for the first block

This was an important statistic for me to share with Maiya
and explaining that 40% represents 4 out of 10

Also walked with Maria's family,
and hey look there's Grant on the left!

Maiya wanted to take a picture
with the guy who looks like daddy

And she wanted a picture with this lady

Signing our names at the end of the walk

So Maiya understands about homelessness from a 4 year old perspective. Her concern is that people who don't have a house might get dirty because they don't have a blanket and they have to sleep on the ground. But because we drive past hundreds of homeless people each morning on our way to her preschool and my work (Skid Row adjacent), she sees them everyday. But lately, she has observed that the homeless people that she sees are mostly all African American, and then also made a comment that she thought that the singer on her "Family Time" CD cover was also homeless (Ziggy Marley). So I have acknowledged that although most of the people we see in the mornings are African American, I have also tried to explain that 4 out of 10 of the homeless in LA are women and children, like me and her. I also pointed out a big poster on a truck during the walk about a man (who happened to be white) who got sick, spent all his savings, and became homeless. These are big concepts for a 4 year old, to be sure, but I think it's important that she learn that she has the ability to use her feet to walk to help the homeless.

Anyways, about the walk. It was fun. Maiya is always happy to see Larry, who she calls "Funny Guy." I was a little nervous about walking with Maiya because last year she rode in the stroller the entire way, and this year, we were going to be without a stroller. But, she did really well, I was actually impressed that she did so well. We found my friend Maria's family in the crowd, and walked with them a bit, and we were walking at a fairly quick pace. Then we'd catch up to the LTSC group, or she would run in between the two groups. Along the way, we also ran into our friend Grant and then towards the end we found Mike (both people we should/could have carpooled with). In the last 1K or so, she started losing it, wandering a bit and slowing down, playing with sticks in the ground, picking up rocks and leaves and acorns and things. So in the end, it was just the two of us.
After the walk, we hung around a bit, and then went to Tokyo 77 for a late breakfast. She ordered her usual, pancakes, bacon and syrup, no butter, and I had a Hawaiian Royal. Went home and I took a little nap in my comfortable bed, and then got up and took a nice, warm, and luxurious bubble bath jacuzzi with Maiya to soothe my tired feet. Grateful to have a nice home to come home to.


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