How Parenting My Father is One Step Towards Changemaking

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How Parenting My Father is One Step Towards Changemaking How Parenting My Father is One Step Towards Changemaking

How Parenting My Father is One Step Towards Changemaking

by Alessandra Rizzotti

February 21, 2014

I've gotten my father set up now so that as he ages, he can live more comfortably. Every day for one month, I called Salem's Housing Authority to check in and see if apartments would be opening up. My persistence paid off, and now, my father is part of a larger community of people who look after him. I've also reconnected him to his sisters. This I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments thus far. While I work my way up to financial independence, I hope to get to a place where I can provide for him, without him having to rely on the government. But for now, I have to do what's best for both of us. 

As SNAP benefits get cut, and the middle class finds themselves frustrated about having to support the 47 percent, I worry about the amount of people with mental illnesses who depend on government services. There is a misconception in our society that those who are homeless or rely on these services are either using drugs or choosing to live this way, when instead it's because they did not have mental healthcare or the family support they needed. Not everyone like my father has a person like myself to help them get back on their feet and find the services they need, and that's why these services must exist. But it's not just about the services existing, it's about having someone to help people in need navigate those services and get what they deserve as human beings.

Why is it that I, the person least likely to support my father, can go to bat for him, but the majority of Americans are unaware about how they can support someone like him? Now that I've done what's necessary for my father, I want to do the "possible," then the "impossible." I want to help more people like him get off their feet and out of homelessness by volunteering at LIFT, an organization that helps homeless people get connected to services. I also just joined MAZON in their advocacy efforts to end hunger. These are my first steps towards becoming a more active changemaker. If you know of any similar organizations that I can be a part of, please share your insight. I'm new to this, and I'm just getting my feet wet.

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