San Diego, California, is home to the fourth largest homeless population in the country, but the homeless of the city are being given a new opportunity thanks to the efforts of 16-year-old Kevin Barber. After watching a Ted Talk about a jobs program for the homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kevin set out to bring a similar program to San Diego, and Wheels of Change was born.
Wheels of Change is helping the homeless men and women of San Diego earn money and a place to stay by cleaning up their community's litter. The program is currently being run by the local non-profit homeless organization, Alpha Project, and has already been an incredible success, with a wait list of 150 people looking to join.
Bob McElroy, an Alpha Project volunteer, says Wheels of Change is already making a positive impact:
It's just so medicinal for our folks who have always been marginalized and irrelevant. San Diego is going to be spotless by the time we are through with this.
People seem to appreciate both the program and the inspiration behind it:
This is where money should be spent. Not in Wars, not training to arm teachers, not on walls. Spend on healthcare, education, and revitalization.— Grammar Cop (@MrKoivisto) February 28, 2018
Sarcasm on point:
These kids need to sit down and shut up because they don't know how the world works...— CognitiveLobotomite (@pagnaet) March 11, 2018
I hope the sarcasm is obvious enough.
Kevin and his mother are working to expand Wheels of Change and have started a GoFundMe page to raise enough to buy a second van and hire more workers. The campaign is currently at $6,940 of its $80,000 goal. Though it began as a six-month pilot program, Kevin and his mother are reaching out to local government in hopes of making the program permanent.
Kevin hopes to keep the program going for as long as possible.
Our goal is to get another van and have it go more days of the week. Helping as many people as we can.
H/T - CNN