It has been a difficult life. I would conservatively estimate because my pernicious anemia was diagnosed 38 years into progression I have lost approximately $3,000,000 in income. It had been my plan to get my doctorate in the classics by age 27. Like so many of your dreams this was not to be. Yet, I must say suffering has given me a window of understanding into the pain of others whether it is physical and/or emotional. Below, is a link to a piece I wrote on how illness has had me see how I can make lemonade out of all those so many bitter lemons.
This writing project is part of a larger goal to free many from poverty permanently. Below, is a five point plan for poverty alleviation, which has been endorsed by philanthropists,journalists,those in the civil service,bankers,doctors,teachers,seminary Deans,a planned giving coordinator,chaplains,social service workers,ministers,singers,human resources managers,social advocates,professors, and business executives etc.
This is why I am appealing to you for your help. All I ask is that you send this letter to your network of contacts.
The poor deal with policy number crunchers, who are in that job sometimes because they are like Ebeneezer Scrooge, who said when asked by local businessmen for alms for the poor, “Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons?
The Harper government says it is not their responsibility to address the problem of poverty. Harper says it is the responsibility of the provinces to address the issue.
According to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight L. Duncan the Conservative government plans to reduce provincial transfer payments for health care starting in 2016. He said the Christmas present from the Harper government for 2011 was a lump of coal.
Doesn’t it become clearly obvious that Harper as he gives his fireside chats at Christmas time from the opulence of his home is being true to his word, that he washes his hands of the problem of poverty. I guess that’s easy to do when you don’t have to decide to pay for your rent or food, but not both. It’s easy to do that to a mother on welfare, who can’t afford to give her baby special baby formulas that is needed due to the infant not absorbing vitamins and minerals properly. I guess it’s easy for him to dismiss the poor as weak and ineffectual. He is sadly mistaken.
After all, you will have the poor with you always. It will be an ongoing reality. Just accept it. Let food banks take care of the poor. Yet, for many this is not a healthy solution. Many canned foods are high in sodium and on an ongoing basis can cause high blood pressure leading to a stroke or heart attack. Typically, I know from having gone to food banks, and in my past employment as a family services worker, that they only have enough donations to give three days of food for every 14 days. Let me be perfectly clear that I as one who is poor am thankful for the food from food banks. There are times my wife and I would have starved without their support, and demonstrated their willingness to throw in a few treats like cookies and potato chips so poverty didn’t sting so much.
Those who volunteer at food banks do their absolute best with what food they have. They give of their time to help those in need. They are all ambassadors of hope to hurting communities where hope is fleeting and dying.
Yes, it’s all too easy to be an arm chair critic. My stepfather, George Miller, who died of lung cancer on Spetember 11, 2006, challenged me when I would say not enough was being done to address the problem of poverty. He said to use my God-given intelligence and passion to be part of the solution. Thanks, dad, for that wise advice.
Let me emphasize that I as one person don’t have all of the answers. I do believe I have a small part of the answer. It is a five point plan for poverty alleviation. I cannot be the sole one leading this venture. My very own real medical conditions prevent me at this point in time from putting in long work weeks being an advocate for the plan. I do believe with proper medical treatment this can change. If you can think of any vitamin, mineral or immune booster that would be of help, please let me know.
Here’s the plan.
5 Point Plan For Poverty Alleviation:
1)Bursaries and scholarships for the physically, developmentally and mentally challenged, those on welfare, disability and the working poor.
2 The establishment of a worldwide charitable foundation to give dream funds in any area of need, so those who have stopped dreaming can hope again, If they need medications the government won’t provide, the foundation will provide it for the rest of their life if necessary. Partnerships will be made with those in corporations and business, who can help with dream projects such as the building of a fully accessible house for a disabled person, dental work where government programs won’t provide help, the building of housing for those with multiple chemical sensitivity, who need specialized accommodation for their disability, the building and staffing of naturopathic hospitals in all countries working in concert with conventional medicine to maximize patient wellness, grants for people to start their own businesses, and funding of charitable and community projects where other organizations cannot provide that funding. All individual and community projects
where need is demonstrated will be considered by the Directors.
3) A Pay it forward contract of honesty will be established. Those who have had their dreams for better health, a meaningful career or further education realized, will be asked to give to others, so their dreams can come true. For every year of having a dream scholarship they will be expected to give one year of service and donation of their time and talents to the foundation as mentors to foundation applicants, who need career and skill development.
4) Paid vacations and retreats for those on low incomes, the terminally ill, the working poor, those on disability, welfare and with mental illness.
5) Show the foundation your talent whether it is in business, music, writing or whatever field, and those proving need will be given dream scholarships. Mentors who will join the charitable foundation will help all to realize their dreams, honing the talents that are already there
Karen and I will offer our gifts to the foundation. The proceeds from any creative work we do will be donated to the foundation.
We will only get from the Director and those supporting that individual an income to live from that is deemed to be reasonable.
Here is an illustration of how the pay it forward concept would work. A foundation applicant offers the proceeds from one of their songs to carry on the foundation’s work. A top celebrity agrees to mentor the struggling songwriter. The media finds out. The song royalties because of the top celebrity’s volunteer involvement makes $1,000,000 in one year.
Let us say the Directors of the foundation agree that this vocalist who was living on welfare is given a 20 percent royalty for the rest of their life, and also it would become part of the singer’s estate.
The songwriter now has $200,000. The foundation just in one year alone has $800,000 to continue its work. The royalties continue earning the songwriter an average income of $100,000 a year for the next five years, and an average of $50,000 a year for the next five years after that, even when sales drop off. In eleven years the singer has earned $200,000 the first year, $500,000 for the next five years and $250,000 for the five years after that. In 11 years the songwriter has made $950,000.
Without the mentoring from a top celebrity the songwriter would have likely remained in poverty. He might have even joined a gang because he came to believe that through stealing and hurting others he could escape the vicious cycle of poverty in his family.
I am on full scholarship for a Master of Theology degree majoring in missions at a prestigious distance school called South African Theological Seminary. The title of my thesis is From Liability to Blessing- A Study of the L’Arche Richmond Hill Community in Toronto.
It is in my faith concept God’s plan for the thesis to spend an unspecified period of time living among the developmentally challenged and the assistants who take care of their activities of daily living such as bathing, helping turn the less mobile in their bed to avoid bed sores, and encouraging them that they should be equal participants in worship with the able-bodied.
Many in society regard the developmentally challenged as a burden. In many countries they are institutionalized,warehoused, forgotten. They are to be laughed at on buses, jeered and ridiculed. They are easy targets for sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse because many are too weak with chronic health conditions to fight back.
In a C.B.C. interview with Jean Vanier in 1964 he focuses on how there is a profound blessedness to the two mentally ill men, who came to live with him at the first L’Arche (The Ark), started when these men started living with him in a home in the French village of Trosly-Breuil near Paris.
I look forward to going there to spend time with those beautiful, open and loving souls so much in need of love, acceptance and the outstretched hands of human kindness.
I thank God for all of the so many people who have truly been with my wife, Karen and I when we needed them most. The groceries that arrived when the Ontario provincial government took away coverage for more and more medications, that Tim Hortons coffee that arrived piping hot, and listening hearts who took time to share time from their hectic schedules to bring us comfort and encouraged us to hope for a brighter tomorrow — they are the unsung heroes of hope. To all of them I say a deep heart-felt thank you and as the Koreans would say, cum sum nee dah.
I salute the efforts of The Salvation Army Dignity Project to address the problem of poverty in Canada. It is my prayer that they will take the five point plan for poverty alleviation and adopt it in both Canada and throughout the world. It is also my hope that all denominations here in Canada and abroad will adopt this plan.
The plan is not written in stone. I and those who I hope will join the worldwide charitable foundation yet to be established are open to any suggestions for its improvement. My life story God’s Miracles for Him is my first offering in what will be the life-long commitment of my wife and I to donate all creative efforts to the foundation. I hope the book will be published and the TV mini series produced by a broadcasting company or hopefully a series of TV broadcasters throughout the world.
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.I have a dream today.I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.I have a dream today.I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
Thanks for taking the time out of your life filled with its own challenges to read and hopefully respond to this letter.
I can be reached at (705)544-2438 in Englehart, northern Ontario, Canada. Our mailing address for any get well cards or CDS, DVDS and reading material you think would be uplifting to us can be mailed to:
Kevin and Karen Osborne
P.S. We shall overcome together.