The Women Like Us Foundation supports women's leadership for Gender Equality and Social Justice in the areas of Sex Trafficking, Homelessness and Education. It is the purpose of our blogs to create awareness of the work of women and the impact they are making on the world.
The word dignity means the quality of being worthy of honor and respect.
Do you believe we have angels all around us? I would imagine the homeless community in Philadelphia might feel just that way about Lolly Galvin, Founder of the Dignity Project who is making waves through the power of human connection.
I wondered how I was going to convey through words what most of us, whether homeless or not, are actually starving for, a real authentic human connection. No masks, no preconceived notions, just raw and sincere time.
There is such power in the human spirit...
Lolly did not have a background in non-profits, or any specific extended work with the homeless. She first began by starting a gofundme.com page of $500.00 on Periscope for random acts of kindness. The goal was reached from complete strangers; her first act was to take a homeless man named Tom out to lunch and get to know him. She took a picture with Tom and shared his story. Lolly says Tom changed her life for the better that day, while touching other people. We never know the ways in which we will feel blessed when simply blessing others. There is such power in the human spirit.
Listening, Learning, and Caring
Lolly continued to give essentials to homeless people while getting to know them through listening, learning, and caring. She felt encouraged to share more stories with others through the platform of social media, and before long her $500.00 grew to $2,000.00. Lolly vowed that if her page hit $10,000 she would go live in a van for a month and give her time and resources to 14 other U.S cities. Lolly surpassed her goal and had one of the most profound experiences of her life. Lolly has made connections with others along the way who to have offered their time and resources. She works with a hair stylists who provides hair cuts for the homeless.#phillystreetcuts This is just another example of how she honors and respects those in need.
We all have the power to connect...
As we know suffering is all around us. However, Lolly’s intention is not to end suffering because she knows that isn’t possible. She says we all have the power to connect by showing others dignity. Lolly goes on to say, “Many people feel uncomfortable extending a kind word or gesture, but it is so needed in our world.” “People are isolated and hurting.” What’s inside of Lolly is actually inside of all of us. It’s the ability to choose by stepping out of our comfort zones and taking action. We all came into this world with nothing and we will all die with nothing. Why is it so hard for us to see that we all matter? Lolly expresses “When we sit down with someone who has nothing and just share, it transcends the way we once thought.” It opens our minds and our hearts to something greater than you or me. “We can all choose kindness. “
What Lolly has learned through the homeless, she says, is priceless. She goes on to say that many of these precious souls are not just smart, but brilliant. Many have gifts that are perhaps suppressed for their shear need of survival. “They have a different mentality and if you’re willing to listen. You cannot walk away without having learned something.”
Lolly learns what items are really needed on the streets and then creates bags to reflect those particular needs. The good fight she is fighting is not always easy, but each time some little treasure appears to help her to persevere. An organization named The Unforgotten Haven came to her rescue as she was trying to make ends meet for The Dignity tour, a cross -country tour to expand her outreach. She is also connected with Little Things that dedicate their website to positive stories. Lolly was also contacted by a producer who is interested in creating a documentary on the Dignity Project.
"I see good everywhere simply because I look.."
“The world is a mirror of your own beliefs.” “If you believe that the world is a terrible place and people are terrible, that is what you will attract.” “ If you believe that the world is a kind place working together with you, you can attract whatever you want.” “I see good everywhere simply because I look.” “If you can see that and be that, things will change.”
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Written By: Shannon Stoddard