Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Day in Detroit 2014

Today was the national observance of Martin Luther King Day. At Central United Methodist many activists from across the city gathered. The fight for human, civil, social, economic, and environmental rights was palpable throughout the day. We started with  speakers and presentations to acknowledge what has been accomplished with a message aimed at the present and future. This was followed by a march through the streets past the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall (happening at this time). After the march we came together for a meal and entertainment from various poets and musicians.

Learn more about the plans for the day and follow-up at

Slideshow of Photos

Link to Broadcast Video Clips - 27 clips captured from inside church, on the march, and entertainment afterward.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Note to Senator Stabenow

I'm not impressed by the performance of Senator Debbie Stabenow. Some will bait this with Democratic/Republican positions. Honestly I'm nonpartisan in my opinion. My interests are in seeing the public served by elected representatives in government doing their job - REPRESENTING THEIR CONSTITUENTS FAIRLY AND JUSTLY.

Senator Stabenow - I'm watching your performance on legislation going through committees. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

DO Foundation Empowering the Homeless

Feb 14, 2013 Message from Kelly Adolph of the DO Foundation:

Yesterday was a very heart wrenching day for DO Foundation, sometime about late afternoon a call comes in simply saying "I was told to call here and ask for Kelly Adolph!"  No other details.  Our volunteer receptionist Judy, did what she could to see how she could assist the caller, however, the woman on the other line, didn't know why she was told to call and ask for me.  At that time, Judy, explained what it is we do as an organization and the caller stated, she needed all of those services.  At which time, I assume, Judy sought me out in order to find out what to do.  Our volunteer Director of Operations Kafi Mack intercepted the call, because I've been on lock down in an attempt to finish 4 grants that are due tomorrow.  Had the day broken by MyTV20 news interview, a conference call about additional homes already that totally threw my day off schedule.  Finally, remembered to eat when Mama Jo texted me to see if she'd brought enough food the day before.  (Thank goodness she did.) :)

Kafi spoke to the caller, hung up the phone and walked lifeless through our offices until Brian asked her what was bothering her.  At that time, our DOP broke down in the conference room which isn't normal for our positive, ball of energy.. (smile)  It was then Brian's mission to find out what had Kafi so distraught.  After regaining her composure slightly, she told Brian, a mother of 4 children was just on the phone asking for me.  The women, who has been homeless for over a year, doing what we call sofa surfing sporadically throughout the year, living in a shelter where the staff treated her awful and the food made her children sick. Went into another shelter where they told her the only way she could remain is if she quit the job she had been waiting to get for a year.  This woman and her 4 children left this shelter because as she stated, "I waited for almost a year to get hired in job that could support my family.  Why on earth would I quit my job, get on assistance and start all over again!"  Her only recourse was to leave, and the only place she could go was into an abandoned home, where she and her 4 children, ages 9, 10, 13, and 15 slept on the top floor at night, put something over the windows and curled up next to one another for the night in the rigid temps in Michigan.  During the day, she would take the children to the library which stayed open until 8pm so that they could stay warm, while she plugged in her cell phone and made several calls seeking help from anyone who would help her.

After hearing about this woman, Kafi stated, we have been reaching out to Edd our volunteer driver, but have been unable to get him and Brian simply said, "STOP!  I am going to get her, where is she?"  And that is exactly what he and Dionte (volunteer National Guard) did after sharing with me what had just taken place.  My heart ached for this woman, I had not seen her, or spoken to her, I didn't know her story, if she was a good person, a bad person and unfit person, nothing, all I knew is she was single mom, with 4 children sleeping in an abandoned home, in Michigan, in February and that is unacceptable.  So we prepared for her arrival.

When she and kids got to the office, after Brian stopped to get them pizza.  They of course were very reserved. Not really certain where this would lead.  Who is this Kelly and what can DO Foundation do for us?  After the mom went into the restroom to freshen up.  (Kafi and Ethan put together a personal hygiene bag for each of them while we waited for their arrival.) The mom returned and met with Ethan (a 22 year old Air-force Veteran who volunteers as our Intake worker, amongst other things.)  My daughter (20 year old National Guard volunteering as a Housing Advocate) came to me with sad eyes and asked if she could do placement for this woman and her children?  I at first had shifted this responsibility to our other volunteer Housing Advocate Juan, however, he had to leave for work. And for some reason, I didn't think my baby girl could handle such a traumatic situation emotionally, but of course I was wrong. (smile)

While we waited for "mom" to complete her intake, we had heard from Brian that the 15 year old daughter was taking the situation the hardest and she was very angry.  Lucky for her we have a wonderful staff of volunteers who happen to be young. So Krysten (18 year old volunteer data entry clerk), Erica (24 year old Case Management trainee) and Britnie made it a point to sit with this young girl and cheer her up, encouraging her that she and her family were in good hands. Ultimately, after this, she had plans to hang out with the girls, doing hair, nails, and make up. (smile)

it was getting late, and Brian and I had already decided that we would house this family temporarily at the Stinson House, a beautiful home donated to us by the Stinson family last year.  Where we currently house, a former homeless man, (living in his car) and a mom with a 1 year old little boy sent to us by Children's Hospital.

The next step was to talk to mom ourselves, which we did.

I explained to her, we have a home.  I pick up the keys on Friday, we have to clean it, its a 2 family flat, offered to us for use under our HSI program.  I explained the program and the face of this woman lit up.  She says, "I have so many dreams and aspirations, all I need is a chance to achieve them." She then stated, "my plan, that I'd just discussed with my children was to give them up.  As I laid there last night, freezing, watching my children, I knew I couldn't do this to them another night.  So I talked to them and told them I would send them to Battle Creek to stay with relatives there, knowing that doing this would mean they would never give my kids back to me."  I asked Brian if he could get the kids, when I told the mom, tell your children that is no longer an option.  She put her head down and said, we have been let down by so many organizations, by so many people over the time we have been homeless. It's hard to trust, what you are offering is exactly what we need, but.... "  I said to this women, no buts... We are giving you a chance, now the rest is up to you.  Where you go with the chance we give you, depends on how bad you want to get there, but we are not in the business of putting families on the streets.

When the children came in and mom explained the plan, the 15 year old girls said, "I understand what you are saying and that all sounds good, but, so many people have made promises to us and look where we are.  I believe in you mom, but I can't believe in anyone else."  I said to this young girl, "The proof is in the pudding" of course the kids laughed as they had no idea what I was talking about... LOL

So I said, "We can show you, better than we can tell you!  If you only give us a chance.  Will you give us a chance to show you and your family that we care, and you will not end up on the streets ever again."  She smiled a slight peace came over her, the 9 year old little boy laid his head on my lap and exhaled...

We took this family to our Stinson house to stay until we got the Smith house together for them.  When we pulled up, they were all in a state of aww... "Is this your house?" they asked.  I just knew we were going to some shack, some house that was run down.

I laughed.  We won't put you any place we aren't willing to live ourselves. I told them.  When we got inside, our residents greeted them with open arms.  They were so excited, so comfortable.  The 15 year old gave both Brian and I a hug after saying, "You did all this for us?"  Of course Brian with his playful self, told her, we weren't actually here, she was seeing things. LOL

We discovered we didn't have enough linen or towels in the house, so we ran home, I grabbed linen and towels, washcloths and food and we took it back to them.  We left them for the night with huge smiles.  A peace of mind, and for the first time in a long time, HOPE!!!

You see, this is what we do!  This is how we do it!  This is where your donated dollars go.  To people and families just like this.  This is but one story, we have hundreds of them.  We are not government funded.  We don't get million dollar grants.  Our staff comes into the office every single day, dedicated until 7pm or later as volunteers, they pay (in gas, in wear and tear on their cars, some traveling great distances), feeding themselves lunch from time to time (as we like to at least provide a meal a couple times a week, courtesy of another wonderful volunteer Mama Jo, who cooks for us, delivers it and gives us tons of love and support/ Registered Nurse at Henry Ford Hospital).

They don't come in for a paycheck, because they have to, because they need to.  They show up each day because they want to, they believe in our mission, our plight and our hearts.  They share the same passion and want to fight injustice.  These are our DOERS!!!  And THIS IS HOW WE DO IT!!!

Your support is needed to continue to do what we do.  We need property, we need household items, furniture, appliances, linen, monetary support, volunteers.  We need more of you!

Become a doer today, so we can change the lives of thousands.

*This is our Stinson house.  Thank you Stinson family for donating this home to DOF, after renovations, we opened the doors in the late summer of 2012. Since that time we have saved the lives of 15 people who came through the doors on their road to self-sufficiency.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Closed Minds - Closed Mouths

"If only closed minds came with closed mouths."

Truer words could not be offered.

Sadly we don't know how closed our minds are until we discover how often WAKE UP calls show up in our lives.

  • You may have to get very close to death before you wake up.
  • You may have to go from riches to  poverty to realize what you've missed along the way.
  • You may have to go from privilege to oppression to stand in the shoes of experience.
Think for a moment before you speak. Listening is a gift we give ourselves to understand the world around us.

Gadgets: Thing Sling

Pardon the wear and tear on the phone and strap - it gets used a lot

Thing Sling

Last August Occupy The Roads came to the Occupy Michigan gathering and they showed me this very cool product. Along the way in their travels they found Thing Sling  and have been introducing it to people who are streaming video through their cell phones. I happen to be one of those persons in that hops on to stream a lot of activities.

How it works

There is an adhesive backing that attaches to the back of your cell phone. An elastic strap from end to end on the backing forms a loop across the back of the phone now. This allows you to slide your finger in the strap to hold the phone rather than grasp it with your fingers.

What I've found even more useful is using a stick, monopod, or even an inverted crutch inside the elastic strap. You might be wondering about using a crutch - there are rules in City Council sessions that make it tough to carry anything that looks like a baton. Monopods unfortunately have that baton look to them and security isn't so fond of allowing something that looks like a weapon through checkpoint. However a crutch, walking stick, or cane is often allowed when a person has difficulty getting around. I found myself blessed traveling with Sandra Hines when she would bring her crutch to council sessions. I'd ask her to use the crutch while she was seated - I turned it upside down and extended the length as far as possible. That then gave me a make-shift monopod for the Thing Sling strap to go around.

If you are out at a demonstration and have the Thing Sling on your phone. Get it started up, strap it to a walking stick and hold it high over the crowd - you might want to build a forward tilt by passing a cloth strap around the stick above the cameraphone. If using a crutch the rubber floor guard serves that purpose.

Eventually the strap gets much looser than when you originally installed it. You can see from the photo that snug fit to the phone has been lost. It still stretches, but has been stretched out over time.