Although a previous blog presented the trials and tribulations of the homeless, today’s blog features an unusual tale of a man who “righted his wrongs” and the beneficial impact this had on numerous homeless people, as well as on youth at risk.
Buddy Harrison was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to nineteen years imprisonment, of which he ended up serving only ten. When he was released, he knew he wanted to turn his life around. Having grown up in Naylor Gardens—a small, rough neighborhood in southeast Washington, DC—he knew some of the challenges that kids today face on a daily basis. He has made it his mission to offer a safe place for them.
He now teaches young people to fight in a ring, so they won’t have to fight in the streets. During the decades he’s been running Old School Boxing, he has turned many lives around. One boxer, nicknamed “Dancer,” weighed 315 pounds when he first met Harrison. Now at 157 pounds he has fought his first professional fight. Dancer is just one of a hundred success stories.
When he’s not teaching boxing, Harrison packs up his truck and goes to Franklin Park in the city, where he hands out hundreds of pieces of clothing to the homeless. He says he is doing God’s work, which has grabbed the attention of the local community. Consequently, people bring him whatever they can to help—clothes, shoes, TVs—goods that fill a warehouse.
One man, who has been sleeping on the streets for twenty years, says he appreciates Harrison coming every week. “It’s the greatest thing in the world,” he said, “just the greatest thing in the world.”
Harrison says he does this work because he knows what it’s like to have nothing. “I’m one of them, I’m no better.”
Almost every day there is news of homeless people—often being attacked, ridiculed, and told to go elsewhere. Although many cities do what they can to help, prejudice toward these people remains a problem. As you read this, do you live in a place where homeless receive help? Have you, yourself been of help to the homeless? And if so, in what way? What new ideas might you have for solving this problem? Any and all comments about this are most welcome!