From Concept to Creation

Needed Change is a seed from which "change" can grow. With the recent tumultuous political and economic situations, many adopted the slogan, "Change we can believe in." But in most instances, we found it only to be a slogan. As time has passed, the hunger for "change" has starved itself out of the picture. Like numerous others, we felt our job was done and we could wait for this so called "change" to show itself.

Personally, we have not been able to find the change and dreams recently promised. Economic stability, careers, doing what we love, and making a difference have eluded us almost completely. From our own experiences in the workforce or with personal business endeavours, we found ourselves in the same boat as many Americans and citizens of other countries, barely afloat.

Instead of wasting one more valuable minute waiting for this so called "change" we have put into place a plan to submerse ourselves in the homeless culture that millions across the world are suffering from. Our goal is not just to document problems like many before us, but to help make the needed change. By doing so, we hope to better understand and address this horrible epidemic.

By becoming one with this forgotten society we will need to learn to survive all over again. From life's basic needs such as food and shelter to handling the mental strain of life on the streets, this will be a test of will and core beliefs.

Kevin Saftner, Galen Sisco, and Drew A. Dayton are taking the first step in creating change. The first step is not words or feelings, but actions. Our journey will take us to the streets of Miami and undoubtedly many more places. With photography, film, and pen we will document our experiences in this whole new world we will be entering. Together we hope to find solutions for the Needed Change.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Helter Shelter!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know that all is well with us on this beautiful day. Putting in 7-10 miles a day of walking to places we need to be has been wearing us down a bit but nonetheless we must keep on keepin' on.

Last night we ate our first meal in a shelter undercover (as in, we weren't escorted by any of the people who work at the shelter nor did we eat with them). We waited in line, which started at 4pm, had all of our bags searched, got metal detected, waited in the chapel, and were called row by row into the cafeteria. Nothing separating us and the homeless except familiarity with the process. A few of the others in the shelter were picking fun at each other as high-schoolers do but it actually escalating to the point where one was kicked out because he wouldn't stop using profanities at those who worked there. It actually got quasi-heated for a minute there.

Although, unlike high-school, the homeless don't seem to separate themselves into cliques. Sure you'll see a few pockets of whites, blacks, asians, or hispanics together but on a larger scale everyone seems to welcome each other. There also is a lot of meal trading going on at these dinners and lunches. Last night Kevin traded a man one tomato slice from his salad for a whole chicken breast stuffed with different beans (sounds gross, tasted insanely good, so much so that we all had 2 helpings).

This morning, after sleeping along the bay and I-195, we walked a good 2 miles to the Mother Theresa shelter, a place we had not visited yet. They set up their meals completely different than the mission does. Firstly, there is no bag inspection and secondly, they don't seem to be as harsh as to kicking people out for using profanities and stuff of that nature. One similarity I did notice though was the number of people who ate at the Miami Rescue Mission the night before just as we did. In fact, I at next to the same man I did last night, us both sporting the same outfits, threaded together by that common bond.

We'd like to personally thank Laura Lapacik for sending us three $25 giftcards to Wal-Mart which will go a long way whether we use that for getting video equipment or other resources we need to finish this project. We have been more than blessed by Laura and her willingness to get us those gift cards. Also, we'd like to recognize Marcus Englert and Brenda Paiz for their monetary donations which we have not yet received but it is on the way. You two have been some of our biggest supporters and we thank you, a bunch.

We also know that some of you have purchased Burgh Cards ( If you are one of them, thank you from both us at Needed Change and Ricci and his crew over at Burgh Cards. You can still pick these cards up from the website for $10. Of that $10 we receive $5 and Burgh Cards get $5 to cover their operating costs. Not only do you help us with this project and homelessness but you also get discounts to nearly 50 different Pittsburgh locations!

Also, thank you to Gus Garcia Roberts, from the Miami New Times, a publication with over 70,000 subscribers for getting in touch with us to do a story. We are also being courted for a story from another Miami publication called BackSlash Magazine which boasts a circulation of 50,000. We are also proud to announce that we will also be in contact with two Pittsburgh area publications, one being the Sandwichzine and the other being the Cal Times. Once we start getting more involved with our talks with them we will post more details about them!

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