Smiles of Humanity
A movement to end homelessness through human connection.
A smile is a universal human expression of joy.
Think about the last time you saw someone genuinely smile...
You probably smiled too. Did you feel an instant connection?
No matter where in the world you go -- regardless of culture, language, or socioeconomic differences -- a smile has the power to connect you with anyone on a human-to-human level.
Transform sympathy to empathy, and ultimately compassion -- through joy and human connection, starting with a smile.
Common perception of homeless people.
The stigma of homelessness generates fear, guilt, disregard and sadness in our community -- anchored in sympathy.
Shifting perceptions to humanize the homeless.
Together as a community, we can tackle the stigma by sharing their experiences of joy -- cultivating empathy.
Sometimes we forget that homeless people are human too -- they're our neighbors, just temporarily without homes. Homeless people are stripped of their dignity, ignored, avoided, and seen as “other” which is demoralizing and isolating (if you've ever felt lonely, you know how this can hinder any positive personal progress).
This dismissal grows the gap between being homeless and getting back on their feet.
Helping homeless people doesn't perpetuate the problem -- our disregard does. A sense of belonging cultivates empathy, encouraging them to care too. Sometimes it takes someone else to care about you for you to realize your worth and care about yourself.
It's our responsibility to help our neighbors -- living in homes and out of homes alike. Our compassion will create a better world for everyone who lives in it.
Phase 1: Transforming Sympathy to Empathy
Gallery Launch: September 21, 2019
You walk into a bright gallery and see large beautiful and colorful portraits around the room. The genuine smiles draw you in and instantly create an emotional connection with you. You learn each person's story -- how they became homeless, what they've dealt with while living on the streets. Most importantly, you learn what they find joy in -- what makes them smile. This relatability transforms your sympathy to empathy and makes you want to help. You get the opportunity to give and this space becomes a launchpad for compassion, spreading joy and strengthening our community.
Get a sneak peek at what these stories will include by meeting Debbie (pictured above).