Day 2: I met Erik Poppe today who has been homeless for 4 years. After being kicked out at 17 and dropping out of high school, Erik came to Ann Arbor. Thank goodness for the Delonis Shelter and their phone…that is how he finally stepped up and called financial aid who graciously provided a Pell Grant to cover his tuition when he was accepted into WCC. His backpack, a weight bearing his (unwashed) clothing and textbooks, were a testament to the challenges he was overcoming. I learned about his life and his next big step: trying to get a job and a phone. He could not call potential job interviewers back in time and he couldn’t even keep in touch with friends and family and he couldn’t be as helpful of a student teammate for projects or papers and he cannot even verify his ID on any sites requiring SMS verification. Today, to help a stranger, I walked him over to the nearest phone shop (AT&T) and got him a prepaid phone with 200 min so he could better pursue job opportunities. I will email him in two weeks to see his progress in job hunting and final exams.
This is James, from the AT&T shop who helped get the prepaid phone into working order. He broke the news about what happened in the alleyway next to the shop where someone jumped from the parking structure earlier today. It stopped me and made me wonder what else I could do to be generous, something that I could do to help me touch the lives of people who are in similar bad life situations who might be considering similar jumps.