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Impacting America.. My Way

A Rosa Parks Essay Winner

When I think about Rosa Parks and what she did, or how she impacted America, I begin to think of ways that I could possibly be an impacting person and be influential for people today. One thing that I think of, when talking about influencing, is coming up with an idea to help those that don’t a have a place to call home. Rosa Parks was a lady, in the mid-1950’s, that stood her ground in something that she thought was right, and it really made a difference.

As a young, middle-class, Public School attending, mixed girl, some people might think that there’s no way on earth that I could do anything to impact the world the way that Rosa Parks did. Some people might think that there’s no way on earth that I could do something that could decrease, and possibly remove, homelessness off of the streets. But like Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.

Pearl McFall is an 11th grader from GRPS’ Innovation Central High School and the 2017 winner of the annual Rosa Parks Essay Contest. Read the accompanying SNN article about Pearl’s efforts: Student Uses Award for Essay on Helping Homeless to Do Just That

On April 14, 1974, Rosie’s Place, America’s first Women Homeless Shelter was founded by a woman named Kip Tiernan. In 1975 the homeless rate of a Single- Parent with a child(ren) was around 2,500 and has increased to around 2,800,000. And the count for homeless people in Grand Rapids, earlier this year was 912. With just the idea of this many people having to stand through the snow, through the wind, through the rain, and through the heat, it kind of makes me feel like making our homeless count severely decrease is a part of my life mission. That’s why I made the promise to do so.

Every time I leave my house and go for a walk, typically downtown, I see a person in need, standing on the corner, sleeping under a bridge, digging through trash cans, etc. I just wish that there was something that I could do, right then-and-there, but there is nothing. So one day I would like to found a company that could help homeless people of all ages, gender, sexuality, and race. My company would be called “Heart Of Help”, and would be a building, originally from Michigan, and would eventually spread all across the country, andihopefully globally. Within the “Heart Of Help” people will be able to come in at any point and discuss the situation that they are in and how they got there, then we will come up with a solution together, as to how to get them out of that situation. A place to sleep, food, clothing, and counseling (for those that want it) will be provided. Only one promise will need to be made, they will stay sober. Both male and female with be provided with hygiene products and will be promised protection from life and its obstacles that they haven’t yet faced.

The main focus in my foundation is like a lot of other shelters, but it will be to get people off of the streets and onto their right foot. First off, we will canvass a way to work towards getting a job and hopefully finding a permanent home. It’s in my hopes to be able to get kids the best education that they deserve, single parents or parents in general the support that they need when in situations like homelessness, and allow addicts to learn how wonderful life can be without drugs and/or alcohol. I know from experience that, just a simple “conversation with a person that isn’t usually accepted into the social world could make a person’s day, so I have a strong desire to not only be able to make someone’s day, but to complete one’s life.

I feel that as of right now there’s no way to possibly begin this non-profit business, however, I hope that by the time I graduate from college I’ll be able to call myself the ‘The young entrepreneur’ and be able to impact the world in the ways that Rosa Parks did towards segregation and Kip Tieman did towards homeless persons. It’s honestly in my hope and dreams to be able to stand up for something that I feel is really needed within our country, and often times looked over.

There are a few other things that I would do to try and impact our world; for instance; bullying, murder-rates rising, and self-harm/suicide. However, preventing the number of homeless people from skyrocketing has always been a goal of mine.

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  1. Dear Pearl,
    Not sure if you will see my message as it is over a year after you posted this. I accidentally came across your essay while researching information on the public art Boston is erecting to honor Kip’s work. I worked with Kip for nearly 40 years. She would have been delighted to know you are passionate about social justice.
    Keep up your good work!


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