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The Humble Humanity of Connecting with a Stranger

by John Mennell

Today, on the way to a coffee shop, I met a man sitting pressed into the corner of a stoop asking for spare change. I said I’d get him some on the way back and had already decided to add some fruit to it. Walking back from the store, I saw a man who I thought was him – now standing a couple blocks away – but I wasn’t sure. That’s a problem alone in the way it dehumanized this man in the sense of a knowing relationship and together being part of a neighborhood and community. Worse, the thought running through my mind was that, by moving from the stoop, he was “confusing me.” I am seeking ways to make our literacy work more direct and more personal by inviting the people I meet anywhere and everywhere to participate. I gave him my card and while walking away I heard him say thank you “John.” He has already acted the better part of our relationship. Tomorrow, I will ask him his name.

  • Senior Star Adult Medical Daycare

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    Mentoring, Job Training, and Education
    100 people age 50 and older and 50 people age 21-40
    Ewing, NJ, USA
    Needs: 180 Magazines
    Magazines Requested: culinary skills magazines (30), home magazines (30), computer magazines (30), learning magazines (30), and entertainment magazines (50)

  • Santa Barbara School of Squash (SBSOS)

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    501(c)(3) charity
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Serves: Students from 4th to 12th grade
    Needs: Magazines for 36 students year round
    Magazines Requested: Any magazines about nature, sports, education, travel, or wildlife

  • Henderson Middle School

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    School or Library
    Students Grades 6-8
    Richmond, VA USA
    Needs: 75 Magazines
    Magazines Requested Oprah, Ebony, Cobblestone, Highlights, Cricket, Calliope, OWL, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic for Kids, Kids Discover, ASK, Ranger Rick, Zoobooks, Dig, Boys Life, Teen Magazines and Music Related Titles.

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