The Cardboard Sign Project :: Social Change

Social Project : The Cardboard Sign by BeckyCharms
Social Project : The Cardboard Sign

"The Cardboard Sign" is my newest project to shed light on how it, the cardboard sign, has become iconic in today's society.

Ranging from "throw a quarter and see if you can hit me", "let's be honest, I need a beer", "I know I'm ugly", to "will work for food", the cardboard sign is the voice, the message, the sentiment.  The cardboard sign is the first tweet, the first limited space to convey the need, the want, the desperation of a soul.  If a person is a soul with a body, then the cardboard sign is the body and the words, the soul.

Living in San Diego, we have the perfect weather, as well as an increased amount of individuals that roam free without a permanent home:  Nomadic by nature, homeless by situation.  Our city has groups and committees dedicated to "solving homelessness".  We have red meters, reminiscent of parking meters, where you can donate money to fund the cause.  I like them.  I am in favor of them.  I think it's an extremely easy and convenient way to "share the wealth" and generously donate a portion of what you have to help others.  I don't know the stats on how much has been donated, but it's not going to be the end-all to homelessness.

How do we teach our children about homelessness?  How do we educate them on individual factors, unique situations, and possible solutions which might only be temporary?  Honesty.

Social Project : The Cardboard Sign by BeckyCharms
Social Project : The Cardboard Sign

With a loving, giving heart, we help when we can.  We give what we can.  A dollar to some may be all they feel comfortable sharing.  Flip the cards and look at it as if you were the homeless person, asking for help.  You're experiencing a major loss of dignity, respect, and hopelessness.

There was a man with a cardboard sign sitting outside of our local boba shop where we like to frequent to enjoy our fancy drinks.  I pulled out a dollar.  My daughter was with me at the time, as she usually is, and "knows the drill" if you will.  She also likes to help and share.  She is giving to those in need.  After giving the man a dollar, we entered the shop.  We proceeded to order our drinks, and waited.  Something wasn't sitting right with me.  I felt like that dollar wasn't enough compared to the ten dollars' worth of drinks we had ordered.  As soon as our drinks were ready, I took my daughter by the hand, went outside, and asked the man if he would care for a drink.  He pepped up a little, and told me what he would like; mango icy with mango jellies.  I think that's what he ordered.  So I took his order, paid for it, waited for it, and hand-delivered it as soon as it was ready.  And you know what?  It felt really good.  I had more to give him than just a dollar; that day, anyway.

I just didn't feel right walking out of there with fancy drinks and only having offered him a dollar.  He was worth more than a dollar.  The only thing that would've made it better is if we had clinked our drinks and said "Cheers"!

Then it hit me.

Desperation is Courage, Motivation, and Change.

The feeling of desperation forces you to be courageous in ways you never dreamed of, never wanted, but will motivate you to be resourceful, and forces you to change.

Your life changes.

Your mood changes.

Your existence changes.

How do you deal with change?  How do you handle change?  Creatures of habit, when our lives change so drastically in such a short amount of time, how are we supposed to cope emotionally?

Mental illness affects a large number of homeless people.  I can see why.  Can you?

I know as a mom, when my brain has "had enough", I have to remove myself from everything; the noise, the chatter, the questions, the real-life issues, the problems, and have a detox period.  Homeless never get that detox.

The Cardboard Sign Project began as wanting to raise awareness, but also changing how we see the sign.  It's an art project, a social movement, an opportunity.

When I look at the cardboard sign, I envision it as necklaces, earrings, purses.  I see it on t-shirts, patches, jackets, pockets, keychains, hats, umbrellas, scarves, dresses, candies, and mint tins.  I see it as courage, which is empowering.  Courage to change is admirable.  Courage to change is encouraging, and I want us to embrace and harness that courageous creative energy and be different.  Be better.  Be more.  Be the courage; for ourselves and for others.  We can change our perspective on how we see that cardboard sign.  We need to read it.  We are a part of it, a cause of it, a reason for it, and an answer to it.
...How would we view the sign if a child was holding it?

Social Project : The Cardboard Sign by BeckyCharms
Social Project : The Cardboard Sign

Share your thoughts and ideas on how you could cause change with The Cardboard Sign.

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Courage & Kindness,


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