Feb. 15th 2017

This morning I almost cried; an almost I deeply regret. I wish I did cry, but whatever dam I have built seldom opens its floodgates. As I sat on the roofing outside my window smoking a cigarette, I realized I truly am achieving my dreams; I am paving a path for my life that will also enable others to do the same. If I die today, I could die at peace knowing that I have continued something that cannot be stopped. All that I do, no matter its insignificance, realizes its importance when it touches the lives of those around me. A wave has channeled itself through me, and now, I get to watch as it flows through everyone else.

When I awoke, I went straight to my phone to check my email for a response to a request I sent the day before, and there it was. I asked Ali Schlageter, the Youth Programs Manager at the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, if I could present my draft of the goal and inspiration of the youth led agency for self-sufficiency I want to push for creation at the YPAC meeting later today. This is the first thing I read this morning: “Phillip! You’re amazing. We can definitely put this on the agenda tonight. Hopefully there will be a good turnout of youth. Do you want me to make copies of the proposal?” Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with joy, affirmation, and most importantly, purpose.

My morning only improved as I made my way over to the Coalition On Homelessness to print out flyers for my book to hand out at another one of River’s talks at noon. I printed out 20 pages that I cut in half to make a total of 40 flyers. Then, I made my way to Chinatown Restaurant to watch River speak to the Christian Businessman’s Fellowship. I think, from now on, River will introduce me as his one and only success story, and I will always look down bashfully.

After River finished his presentation and Q&A, he gave me the floor to give a short spiel of my journey, my book (I passed out the flyers), and what I am currently working on. Immediately, I was asked for my email, so they could invite me back to give my own talk. They also inquired how I was supporting myself and how I funded the publication of my book. You can publish your work for free! I did, however, purchase the universal ISBN for $99 with the money I had I the bank. So, now, I have a future speaking engagement.

The next event for the day was the Youth Policy and Advisory Committee (YPAC) meeting at the San Francisco Public Library where we reflected on our presentation to City Hall and some new areas of focus. One of these areas was my proposal for the creation of a youth led agency for self-sufficiency, which went over very well with the committee. Of course it would, the agency offers us a desperately needed avenue to build the lives we want, empower us to cease autonomy over ourselves, affirm our capabilities, and allows us to prove to ourselves nothing is impossible.

With the excitement and drive to begin constructing the agency from so many, I decided to form a workgroup specifically for this. We will see how many follow through and how much they contribute, but one thing is for sure, I cannot do this alone. Nor do I want to. If we create something phenomenal, we could spread it across the country, so we have been granted an amazing opportunity to not only help ourselves but many others throughout the U.S. I will demand the best from myself and motivate others to do the same.

To calm down and treat myself for a week’s hard work, I used a $25 gift card to see Hidden Figures while sipping on a large Root Beer. Sleep will come slowly tonight as it forces its way through excitement, but when it comes I will rest deeply in the dream of a better tomorrow.


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