Monday, July 5, 2010

'Bamboo Charlie'

"Be Happy...Smile...Watcha gonna dog gone frown for." -'Bamboo Charlie'

This story about 'Bamboo Charlie' in the LA Times earlier this week brought tears to my eyes. It more than inspired me. It's a story like this that opens up your heart, let's you truly appreciate life and just accept that we are all different. Like Charlie says people have different views of the homeless, but when people see the way he lives it changes the way they think about it.
As you open up the gate into this bamboo filled haven, the path lined with dolls, cars, action figures, and statues will guide you through 'Bamboo Charlie's' creative oasis! It's like a curated museum filled with treasures only he has the story for and I want a guided tour:-)
This is the little shack he has set up for himself. I'm digging the curtains!
Just enjoying a show under the stars! Feeling blessed.
Living on Venice Beach I am faced with homelessness on a daily basis. I am so overwhelmed by it at times, have so much compassion for these people, and want to reach out and help. There are camps set up in front of my apartment every night. I can hear the conversations plain as day. I see them set up their beds and clean up their beds. I watch them work hard and be proud of the work that they have done. I watch them watch each others backs and guard each others possessions. Each time I walk out my door I say "Good morning" to my neighbors. And let me tell you. no where else have I ever received so many smiles and "good mornings" on a morning walk. On any given morning I can count at least 10 genuine smiles and sincere "good mornings". Most coming from the homeless. I cannot explain the happiness this brings to me. A smile and a friendly hello is something that you cannot put a value on.

It's sometimes crazy for me to think that I spend my days designing beautiful homes for people when there are so many people without homes. I then realize that a home, no matter how big or small, or how much money it costs, or if even if it's just a cardboard box and a cot on the ground needs to be filled with love. As I look around my home I realize it was created with love and from the heart and not just designed. The pieces mean something to me and most of them have a story to tell. Which is very similar to this oasis 'Bamboo Charlie' has created for himself. As a designer my goal is to tell your story through design...I continuously say this, but this is why I love what I do...cause everyone's got a story to tell!

{As my way of reaching out to the homeless I have began to volunteer for Los Angeles Youth Network so I can help bring LA's more than 10,000 homeless youth home.}

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