When I retired after 25 years as a Senior Economist at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, DC and moved to Boca Raton, Florida I dreamed of tennis, swimming and walking on the beach. Instead, I dreamed up, literally, Houses for Change™, an award-winning national homelessness awareness campaign for kids with homes to help kids without. Promoting Houses for Change is my passion and full-time pro bono “Second Act.”
My dream was simple yet powerful. Children would decorate plain inexpensive house-shaped cardboard boxes to create their own unique Houses for Change collection boxes, which they would fill with change. They would bring the money they saved to the organization that arranged the project for a communal donation to any homeless organization, food bank or house-related charity of their choice.
Since its launch in 2010, more than 27,000 children across the country have made Houses for Change collection boxes at schools, churches, synagogues, homeless shelters, United Way, YMCA, Habitat for Humanity and community centers. Participating kids have saved and donated more than $400,000 to homeless charities to date.
Houses for Change is more than a fun crafts project. It is an opportunity to teach kids about homelessness and the values of saving, charity and compassion while enabling them to help families in need.
For creating and promoting Houses for Change, I have been nominated for the 2013 Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian award in the Nation; the winners will be honored in a White House ceremony later this year.
Last year, I won a national competition sponsored by AARP and Cabot
Creamery to find the best volunteers in the country.
To learn more and to organize a Houses for Change project in your community, visit www.familypromise.org/housesforchange.
Houses for Change is sponsored by Family Promise, a national nonprofit that helps homeless families regain independence through its more than 180 chapters across the country. I volunteer at the local chapter, Family Promise of South Palm Beach Florida.
I created and am working to promote Houses for Change so that kids with homes learn about homelessness and through the act of filling their collection boxes realize that they are helping end homelessness in their communities.