You see, Lolly is just a regular gal with an amazing ability to see deeply into life. She has an uncanny ability to draw you in to a regular every day picture and make you really think about it. Her posts truly are so meaningful and beautiful and I really learned a lot by reading every.single.one.of.them! Seriously, do yourself a favor and go over to @realhumanist right now (well after you finish this blog) and start from the beginning. You have to start from the beginning because that is where the beauty is....where you can see her mind and soul blossoming into the work she was meant to do!
With the turn of the new year into 2016, is when Lolly truly seemed to shift. There is one post that really spoke to me and I think signaled a turning point for her. She writes:
The good is everywhere. It's a shift and a change that you can only see when you realize that you write the script, you employ the cast, you direct your life. Your life is not decided by the environment around you, it is yours. LIVE IT. Do nothing because you "have to" or because someone thinks or says so. Reject the idea of "supposed to be" and embrace the now.Realize that the people who cannot see the good, who are grumpy, and filled with regret live in one single mode: autopilot. A life never in the present, denying themselves a part of the human experience that feeds our soul beyond all others.I see a world waking up. Slowly, but surely after a realllllyyy long nap (ok maybe a coma) and I feel hope.
Around this time Lolly got this crazy idea to try and raise some money to perform random acts of kindness. She set up a GoFundMe campaign and in three short days she managed to raise $500. This was from complete strangers that simply felt in their heart the call to help be a part of spreading love and hope. Dignity Project was born!
So, what was her first RAK? Taking a homeless man to lunch. In Lolly's words "I was absolutely nervous when I approached the first homeless man, Tom, and asked him to lunch. I actually cornered the block a couple of times. Finally I just went up and said 'would you like to go to lunch with me?' He got up and said 'sure.' He packed up his sign and we went to have lunch at 5 guys. My apprehension was if he'd be ok with taking a photo, and sharing a bit about himself. He was more than willing to do so. I posted about our lunch and some of the quotes he said on my private social media pages. Back then it wasn't even a project, I just wanted to share his story. After this, I linked up my personal social media to my gofundme and the donations started coming in. From there, I kept spending time with homeless people and sharing their stories. This eventually evolved into giving "Dignity Bags" of essential toiletries."
And this was the beginning of a very beautiful and inspiring new chapter for Lolly, for all the homeless she served, and for our planet. For this created a spark in Lolly and she wanted to do more! She made the decision to set out on a tour of 14 cities to spread love and kindness to the homeless. Lolly lived in her van during her trek through these cities and managed to serve so many beautiful people with the $14,000 in funds that she raised.
When I asked Lolly what is the most important lesson she has learned, and what message she could give those of us at home wanting to help but not knowing where to start, she shared:
I learn different lessons from every single person I meet. They're all equally important to me. Ultimately, the true lesson is gratitude for what you have as well as how much commonality we all have. I've learned that people want to do good, but often they shut down that side of them. Giving is what makes you feel connected. It gives you a sense of humanity and connection. This is an important part of our biology, and I honestly believe when we deny ourselves of it, we miss out on so much. As far as where to start, it's very easy. I'm not special, I'm no angel on earth. Literally I'm just a regular human who takes some of my time to offer my presence and some companionship to those on the street. A lot of people ask me where to start, but what they're really saying is that they're fearful. This is normal because there's a huge stigma out there about homeless people. So, I say just push yourself to do it and you'll be amazed at how you feel afterwards. Amazing things happen when you step outside your comfort zone.
Lolly has now completed her tour of spreading love through Dignity Bags that she shared to many beautiful people. She is still continuing on her mission though to spread awareness and make a difference, now through her new campaign, #phillystreetcuts - providing hair cuts to the people she comes across on the streets. From physical items to human contact, Lolly is helping the homeless feel a sense of love and dignity.
Recently I was so moved by her post of a three year old girl that is homeless with her family. Her dad lost his job and unable to provide for basic needs, they ended up on the street. I find that we can all be guilty of too easily judging someone without knowing their full story. To read Lolly's account of her contact with this family, makes you realize they are just like you and me...just a couple of paychecks away from falling on hard times.
I learned that one in 30 children are homeless. One.in.30.children! This statistic astounds and saddens me!
Lolly is a true Personal Hero. It is my hope that through her work that many more people will find the calling to help. So many ways we can help and when we unite with the common purpose of spreading love and hope, we can change the world!