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San Diego Homeless Community Outreach Event A Huge Success

by Peter Jonnes

My name is JP Servideo and I team member within the FortuneBuilders family. I am originally from Boston, MA and now reside in San Diego, CA. I am also very passionate about giving back to the community. As a result, I wanted to share my experience about a recent “outreach event” I organized.

One of the reasons I love working at FortuneBuilders is that everyone is so motivated to improve themselves in all areas of their lives. Many of us who work within the company have different “social” causes that we volunteer for and donate money too. It is a very unique environment that you will not find at a lot of companies.

In fact, our CEO Than Merrill has even created an initiative within the company called “FortuneBuilders Gives” for people who want to give either time or money to different social initiatives.

I personally want to take it a step further to teach and encourage our clients and students to “give” and organize outreach events for causes they believe in.

I love being a part of this company because it’s not work. Our “job” you might say, is to help other people be successful in real estate. However, real estate for many people is a means to an end. At the end of the day we all have a higher calling and that is why there is such a “social” commitment here at FortuneBuilders.

Last month I completed a community outreach event for the homeless right here in San Diego. We had a one-day event where we rented a parking lot from a local church, and partnered with a non-profit organization. We proceeded to provide hot meals, showers, haircuts, and snacks for local people who are currently homeless. Not only that, but we also brought in 9 different financial and legal service providers. The service providers helped people complete their tax returns, apply for housing, while others got information about how to get into rehab.

We also brought in individuals who could educate homeless veterans about all the benefits they are entitled to for their years of service. If a service wasn’t offered, we had an individual dedicated to providing them with the information of where to get it.

One story that really hit home was a lady we helped get her birth certificate for the first time. This was a lady, who for years had no single piece of identification. I want all of you reading to think for one second. If you had zero identification in any way (social security card, license, etc…) and lived on the street with no relatives around to help, would you even know where to start? There needs to be two people present who can confirm your identity, a lawyer and a notary. All parties have to sign documents at the same time. It was a really touching moment for me personally when I saw the look on the woman’s face after we helped her obtain her birth certificate.

What I realized was that the face of our homeless has changed. During the event we were able sit down and talk to everyone who was present. I got to hear many of their individual stories and a lot of them, maybe surprising or not, had no one to blame but themselves. These weren’t just people who are stereotyped as drug addicts or lazy. They are your friends, your neighbors, the ones who you look at and say, “Things aren’t that bad for them.”

We saw families who you would never believe were homeless. Their kids are in school, but they live in their car. Most of their classmates have no idea.

I spoke briefly with a woman who was a chemist. Yes, a chemist, and it was as recently as three months ago that she became homeless for the first time. She didn’t lose her mind, just her job, and then one thing led to another and here she is. With the current economic times, immediately she saw no way out like the others who she now shares a similar demographic with. Now, with an event like this, the not so apparent solutions have become clearer. There are options; people are there to support her.

I also could have never done it without the time donated by many volunteers; FortuneBuilders team members, and others who just wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I personally run two businesses so I had to pull this event off by creating systems and leveraging other people’s time and money. All things I have learned being around the FortuneBuilders family.

In the next few months I am going to put together a system to follow for others to follow who want to replicate what I did within their own community. The cause you support may change, but learning how to leverage resources, organize others, and pull something like this requires a system if it is to be successful.

People want to create change and give back, but what I realized is that giving requires a system. Your impact is going to be based on how efficient your system is and the vision you communicate to others. It was a very important lesson.

This was one of the most fulfilling days of my entire life. My sister from out-of-state was able to come and be a part of the event as well. We had an 8th grade class reach out to us once they heard exactly what we were doing and brought 5 students to take part for a school project. To watch them interact and learn about helping others at an early age was an amazing thing to see. They learned lessons that are usually not seen for many years, and will hopefully spark an interest in helping other people as they get older.

I could go on for days about how it impacted me personally, but you need to experience it fully to understand how changing a life can so profoundly affect you. I spent hours after the event just reflecting on how I know for a fact; I changed someone’s life that day.

Please leave a comment about what “social causes” and organizations you believe in.

I would love to hear from you!

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