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Blog post by Rose M, a Kindness Investor from Forest Park, IL.

I just spent the better part of an hour being treated to a stream of consciousness as only a nonmedicated schizophrenic can dish it out.

Today is my last day in my first week as a Kindness Investor (yes, I’m hooked.  I’ll be back again in May).  I had originally intended to try my husband’s idea and go down to the McDonald’s in the nearby Wal-Mart to find a recipient.
But first I had to make a deposit in the bank two blocks from my house.  Actually, it’s across the street from the McDonalds where I met Michael B. (Day 68).  When I left the bank I saw this gentleman sitting on a park bench.  I needed to run home and get my ten.  I decided if he was still there when I got back, he would be my recipient.

Well, he was gone.  I played a hunch he hadn’t been waiting for the bus, so I decided to walk east on Madison towards a little public square where sometimes the homeless tend to congregate.  Sure enough, he was sitting there.

“Are you the man I just saw sitting up the block about a half hour ago? Across from the bank?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Oh good.  Can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Yes.”

I plopped down, careful to keep his bag of newspaper scraps and black canvas backpack tied together with several belts between us.  I asked him point-blank if it would be ok to give him a ten-dollar bill.

“Well sure,” he said.  “It’s always ok to give me ten dollars.  Do you want me to do something for it?”  

It was the perfect opening.  I started to explain about Reed and the Year of Giving blog.  However, after about three seconds he interrupted me.

“I do mostly art.  It’s my gift.  It gives me peace.”   He had taken out a scrap of paper.  It looked like the back of a checkbook, with the calendar year printed on one side.  He folded it in half and taking a pen from his backpack, started to draw on it.

“All the power is from God.  Life is an adventure.  Basically I get my peace from the artwork.  God gave me this gift to give me peace.  I’m a multimedia artist.  Do you know Julie Bell?  Frisette?  Bell does science fiction.  They’re good. They’re some of my favorites.”

I didn’t interrupt.  Probably what I had to say wasn’t going to make much sense to him anyway.  Instead, I paid attention to what he was drawing.  I saw a few sweeps of what looked like long hair, so I thought perhaps he was drawing me as a way to impress me.

Finally he held it up.  “Judas Iscariot,” he pronounced.  Well, I’ve been called worse.

“Is that who you were…”

“No, John the Baptist,” he corrected himself.  “See?”  He pointed out the fierce gaze in the eyes on the paper, which contrasted oddly with the artist’s own deep brown eyes.  His weathered face appeared to be about sixty as his hand went back to drawing, and his mouth back to talking.  “John the Baptist.  Always telling the truth.  That’s what he did.  So tell me your story?  What were you saying?”

I got another three seconds into the saga of YOG when he broke in again.  He’d added a helmet with a flag and horn, and a pointy beard.  “Kubla Khan.  Fu Man Chu.  Or maybe a Knight.  I draw like this.  It’s called layering.  You know about layering?”

This was basically the rhythm of our conversation.  He would free associate off of some word I’d just said, eventually coming back to asking me to finish my story.  Finally I started asking him questions.  I figured he was a vet.  He told me he was in special forces and was in Desert Storm.  Before he got out of the military he was doing peacekeeping work in Afghanistan.  I’m telling you the short version.  There was a lot of meandering around the inner terrain, if you get my drift, but I suspected those two bits of information had some validity.

He’s from Chicago, although he claims to have lived all over the country, gone to countless high-end schools, graduated from top art institutes.  He not only draws.  He writes, takes pictures and is a percussionist.  He has a very high IQ.  How high?  Nobody would tell him.  But he went to Montessori, he told me, as if that were proof in itself.  He stuttered and stumbled over his words, and sometimes sounded to me like a child at play, boasting in imagined exploits.

I started to feel a little motherly towards him.  Who knew where he was?  Who was reaching out to him?  He has children he claims he sees now and again.

“How do they find you?”

“Oh, they just do.”  A lot of his answers were like that.  Vague and mysterious.

“Do you ever go over to Hines?”  Hines VA Hospital is just a few miles from my house.

“I’ve been over there.  I’ll go back sometime,” he said nonchalantly.  But I doubt it.  I don’t think he’d take well to anyone offering solutions so unmanageable to a man in his condition as a roof over his head, medications he’d have to take daily, a pension that would make him a target for robbery.  He looked very fit to me, and handsome in a rugged sort of way.  He probably manages street life as well as can be expected.

“So what are you going to do with the ten I gave you?”

“I’m going to buy art supplies.  Paper and crayons.”  He pulled some crayons from his backpack.  “See these here?  They’re cheap, but I’m going to use them to add texture to this picture.”  He started applying shades of gold and green.
“He has a very warm aura, doesn’t he,” I commented.  I was beginning to think he was drawing a self-portrait, because he seemed to me warm and likeable, despite his mental illness.

“Yes!  You can see it, can’t you?  What do you think that is there,” he said, pointing to the throat.

“It looks like water to me.”

“He’s rising from the water.  He was probably an Aquarius.  I like white water rafting.”

We shared an unexpected moment of silence.  Then…

“Life’s an adventure.  I like parasailing too.  Hang-gliding.  Gliding in planes.  The planes, gliders you know, have no engines.  They glide over the mountains and it’s quiet and I sang to my girlfriend up there.”

I took his picture holding the drawing, because he didn’t want people to see his broken teeth and uneven beard.  He handed me the drawing as a gift with a message written on the back.  It reads:

Rose,

My bibliogenetic is God’s Tool engraven image Artisian, Well of Faith and Brush of Great Gift to myself, to others.  Visual Applause.

Johnny Flash

I walked home thinking of him singing to his girlfriend in the wild quiet above the world.  I wondered what he sang to her.  I hope she remembers him.  I know I will.

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-Blog post by Reed Sandridge, a Kindness Investor from Washington, DC

Did you know arthritis affects an estimated 50 million (one in five) American adults and 300,000 children and is the nation’s most common cause of disability?  Or that there are more than 100 types of arthritis?  I didn’t until I volunteered with the Arthritis Foundation.

They held a black tie gala event called Arts for Arthritis and needed people to help with the silent auction.  I pulled up to the Marriott hotel and conference center in North Bethesda and parked my car.  I adjusted my tie in the rear view mirror and made my away across the parking lot to a door that I hoped would be open.

After making my way up a set of escalators I discovered that I indeed was in the right place.  Art work and jewelry decorated long rectangular tables that were set up in the hallways.  I took a peak inside the ballroom and found forty or fifty tables filled with men in tuxedos and women in exquisite gowns and dresses.

I couldn’t find anyone that seemed obviously in charge, so I wandered around aimlessly until I found a young woman named Mandy who said for me to sit tight until they needed me.  I took the opportunity to browse the items up for bid.  A photograph of Led Zeppelin taken by James Fortune caught my eye.  There were some impressive paintings intermingled with a few very bizarre ones as well.  I also saw a cool photograph of Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals shooting on Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury during this year’s Winter Classic.

Mandy reappeared and put me to work.  There were about 125 auction items that we had to organize and get ready to process payment.  Having done a few auctions in the past, I have to tell you that these can be a disaster!  When I had my year-end event for the Year of Giving, my friend and event coordinator Patricia told me one thing, “Just don’t do a silent auction!”  I ended up doing a very small one and it went smoothly thanks to her, however, it can be a nightmare.

This one went ok, although it was stressful and we had lots of people standing in lines waiting to pay for their items.  Barefoot volunteers with aching feet were fetching purchased items and bringing them to the happy owners.  Unfortunately we didn’t have bags or boxes to give to those who purchased multiple items, but people got over it.

“What the heck did we end up winning,” one man asked his wife who was dressed in a fancy black lace outfit.

“The box says ‘Huggable Hangers,’” I told him.

“I’ve got no idea what they are,” he said shaking his head.

Either it was a very expensive box of hangers or it was something else packed in a Huggable Hangers box.  He walked away with a confused face.

At midnight all but a few stragglers had left.  Staff and volunteers collapsed into chairs and relaxed with a glass of wine.  I was exhausted too, but had to get back to my brother’s house in Virginia where I have been taking care of my father for the past week as he recuperates from a total knee replacement.

I found this volunteer opportunity on Volunteer Match.  If you would like to help out your local Arthritis Foundation chapter, check out Volunteer Match or your local chapter website.

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Knox gets his first customer of the day (photo: Reed)

Yesterday was a great day.  I ran into my very first recipient for the first time since we met on December 15, 2009.  I embarked on this journey 259 days ago when I placed $10 in the hands of a man named Knox who was shinning shoes on a bitter cold afternoon on the corner of 21st and P Streets.  I walked by him yesterday and I wasn’t sure if it was him, so I asked.  “Yeah that’s me,” he said.  He remembered meeting me too.  We talked and I got his phone number so that I can invite him to the year-end party.  “I’m gonna be there,” he assured me.  He also offered me a free shoe shine which I politely declined.   It made my day to see Knox again!  Here is an updated picture of him.

Knox, the Year of Giving's first recipient! (photo: Reed)

I am about two weeks behind writing up the blogs…so today’s recipient is from Day 246.  I was in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC when I realized I was close to the restaurant Social.  You might remember I visited this place on Day 84.  It’s a cool place that is hard to categorize.  I called it a restaurant, but it is rather chameleon like.  It is a restaurant, bar, lounge, living room…it is what you are looking for.  I ended up talking to some people sitting outside on their patio.  I offered a woman there the $10 but she refused.  Then a guy at the table suggested that I give the $10 to the next person that walked by.  Well, I was thinking that it might be difficult to get someone to stop and talk to me since it was almost midnight.

About 100 yards away we spotted a guy walking and when he got close I asked him to accept my $10, but he declined.  I sat back down and enjoyed one of the tasty beers they have at Social.  About five minutes later we spotted someone else approaching the patio.  One of the guys at my table said, “Oh my gosh, you may want to skip this guy,” because the man who was walking toward us had fluorescent blue hair, eyebrows and goatee.  When I saw him, I wasn’t discouraged, in fact, I knew that he was the one.

Freakshow isn't so freaky, he's actually a really nice guy (photo: Reed)

Somehow I wasn’t surprised when the 45-year-old Altoona, PA native told me, “They call me Freakshow.  I’m a DJ.”  He’s been mixing high energy music for several years here in DC creating a music genre that he calls “funky junk.”

I had to ask him about his color choice for his hair.  “It’s always changing; from leopard prints to zebra stripes, to an American flag mohawk.” (I’m back to using the word mohawk on my blog!)  He channels his creativity in many other ways too.

Freakshow is a flower designer and a re-creation artist; someone who takes “something that is considered to have outlived its useful purpose and give it one last chance at being worthwhile.”

He told me about one of his artworks that got a considerable amount of attention from his neighbors.  He decided to reuse his downspouts in a new and creative way.  Check out these photos from the Prince of Petworth’s website.

Freakshow's downspout art (photo: Reed)

"Creativity takes courage" -Henri Matisse (photo: Reed)

Like or dislike his creation, it does get a reaction.  It generated 90+ comments on the August 9th Prince of Petworth blog post.  Freakshow himself even chimed in to explain himself.  I personally don’t care much for the result of his new arrangement of the downspouts, but I get what he was doing and what I like even more about it was what he said about how his experiment triggered social interaction within his community.  “I in the past two weeks have had the opportunity to meet more of my neighbors than in the two years I have lived at this residence. I have made friend and foe but I have lived an experience that allowed me to see and grow, to realize how people can be so utterly judgmental of another person’s vision. I never claimed beauty or functionality I only took a moment to look at life from a different perspective and my god it was a journey.”

"It's always changing." Freakshow commenting on his hairstyle (photo: Reed)

By the way, Freakshow told me the whole creation was held in place by three screws and some duct tape.  I may be wrong, but I believe that he has since removed the downspout.  He wrote in the blog post comment that he envisioned replacing it with a brick patio, flower-cart and bench that hopefully won’t offend his neighbors.

So I bet you are wondering what this guy did with my ten bucks right?  More duct tape perhaps?  Nope, he joins previous recipients Matt and Isaac in using my $10 to purchase cigarettes.

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Carlton sometimes does as many as 10 paintings a day (photo: Reed)

Carlton is sprawled out on the sidewalk in front of Bank of America along Dupont Circle, his feet extending over the edge of the curb and into traffic.  His right hand, covered with paint, swiftly dances over the canvas of a landscape of a far off mountain accompanied by some trees in the foreground.  He pops up and talks to a man who approaches him.  He displays another painting that he has next to him to the man.  They talk for a few minutes and then the man takes his wallet out and pulls a twenty from it and places it in Carlton’s hand.  In exchange he hands him the painting.

I decided to go up to Carlton and ask if he would accept my $10.  He was genuinely curious about what I was doing.  We chatted about his past, the present and the future.  It was a pretty memorable evening.

photo: Reed

At 45 Carlton has been through a lot.  But painting here at Dupont Circle brings his story full circle.  You see it was here about 10 years ago that he used to sleep in the park and panhandle in front of the CVS.  He was a homeless out-of-work drug user.  One evening he went into the park and shot up with some dirty needles.  He suspects it was that specific night that he contracted the HIV virus.  He knew it wasn’t a good idea, but the addiction had blurred his judgment.  It reminds me of Rob from Day 117 who said, “The thing about addiction is that people continue these behaviors in spite of catastrophic consequences.”  Anyway, he went years without knowing he was infected until he started to get quite ill and lost a considerable amount of weight.  He went to the hospital and found out that he was HIV positive.  He says that his health is good these days thanks to three little pills that he takes every day.  He says he knocked his drug addiction although still drinks alcohol which I could smell on his breath.

It was only about a year and a half ago that Carlton started painting.  “I didn’t want to panhandle no more” he said.  He got started when a woman left him some paint by the bench where he was sleeping.  He decided to give it a try.  “God taught me,” he answers when I ask if he was self-taught.  The reason he chooses to paint at Dupont Circle is that he hopes that some of the same people who used to see him strung out years ago will see him today and realize that he has talent and that he has improved his situation.  He talks to me about why he likes to paint landscapes, how he has deals with being HIV positive and being homeless:

With the money that I gave him he said he was going to buy some colored paints.

Here is another few minutes of my conversation with Carlton. I asked him how others can help him and I thought his answer was beautiful.

I really enjoyed talking with him.  As it got late and he finished his last painting he said that he needed to catch the Metro.  “Hey, why don’t you take this painting” he offers as he pushes the painting you see in these pictures toward me.  I told him that I couldn’t receive anything in return for the $10 but I did appreciate the gesture.

 
If you would like to find Carlton, he is often at Dupont Circle in front of the Bank of America during the afternoons.  And sometimes he is there at night, like today.  His paintings range from $20 and up, depending on the size and type.

UPDATE: I ran into Carlton on June 1, 2011 and visited with him for a while.  You can read about my latest encounter with him by clicking here.

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DC Trader Joe's at 1101 25th Street, NW (photo: Reed)

Joe has been working for Trader Joe’s for six years.  He started in Michigan and was then transferred to Rockville before finally accepting a move to the downtown Washington, DC location.  “I do all the signage you see around here,” he explains.  I did a bit of a panoramic scan of the store and realized that every sign whether it be for apples or for frozen entres of chicken masala. 

A former NYC resident, Joe started out as a graphic designer.  When he moved to Michigan he realized that he could apply his background as a graphic designer to be an in-store artist for the privately held Californian grocer.  It was odd to call them Californian, because you feel like you are in your neighborhood store.  Maybe it’s the hand written signs or the goofy Hawaiian shirts.  By the way, I am all for fun shirts, but I think it might be time to change the shirts.  Or maybe it’s just how everyone seems happy there!  

When the 36-year-old artist isn’t working, he enjoys biking, painting, and sports.  He was following the World Cup when we met and was pulling for the Netherlands after his favorite team, Italy, was disqualified. 

Taken at a Trader Joe's in San Luis Obispo, CA. (photo Shawn Thorpe)

“I’ll probably give the $10 to a homeless person.  I see some regularly not too far from here,” he says.  “Or maybe I will give it to the guy who sells the homeless newspaper (Street Sense) in front of the store.”   I didn’t see anyone outside the day I was there. 

I wanted to take a photo of Joe or some of his art work but he preferred not to be photographed and advised me of their policy that forbids photographs to be taken inside the store.  I always try to respect people’s privacy. 

By the way, if you are wondering if Joe is the “Trader Joe.”  He’s not…that would be the founder Joe Coulombe who turns 80 this year.   Coincidentally he says that his wife worked for a company that had the same name as her first name….I don’t remember exactly, but it was like her name was Anne and she worked for Anne Klein.

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Versión en español sigue abajo.

Tomorrow is the big day.  Have you been thinking about who you might give your $10 to?  Don’t over think it.  Follow your heart.  Tell them what you are doing.  Explain to them quickly what the Year of Giving is about.  If you are at a loss on how to start the conversation, maybe this example that I sent to some friends will help. 

Hi…I was wondering if you could help me on a personal project that I am doing…well, let me explain to you what the project is and you can decide for yourself. I am participating in the Worldwide Day of Giving, a day that celebrates altruistic giving and community engagement. The project is simple….I find one person who I don’t know and give them $10, no strings attached. I would love for you to be the recipient of my $10.” 

If they say yes, you can ask other questions and learn more about them….etc. If they are still unsure, explain that if they say no, then you will simply have to find someone else. If they say they are not worthy of the $10, tell them they do not have to keep it and that they can do anything they want to with it. If they say that they prefer that you give it to someone who needs it, remind them that they can also do that. Sometimes you get a few objections….but hang in there and you will find the right person. 

Then submit your stories here

Changing subject a little, I didn’t get any takers to meet up and use my $100 game card at the ESPN Zone.  They were not very flexible in letting me use the credit for anything else (like food at their restaurant, etc) so I gave my card to some school kids there on a class trip.  They were ecstatic. 

I wish I had captured Doña Myriam smiling in this picture, but she had her serious artist look going on (Photo: Reed)

 

Today I have a beautiful story to share with you.  While I was in Manizales, I spent a good amount of time at the Rafael Pombo Foundation.  One day there was an adult art class taking place.  I was taking some photos of them painting when the work of 85-year-old Doña Myriam caught my eye.  We started to talk and I knew I had found my recipient for the day! 

Doña Myriam gave me so much energy.  She has so much passion to learn new things and live an active life.  She has taken up painting and if you take a look at the video, you will see that she is quite talented.  

She raised 10 children.  Sadly her one son, an electrician, has passed away.  I think back to the recent death of my cousin Ricky and how hard it was on my aunt.  My heart always goes out to parents who lose a child.  There is just nothing that prepares us for that.  She also lost her husband who died in 1976.  

Our conversation turned to happier times, like her childhood.  She shares that at 12-years-old she wanted to join the communist party.  By 15 she had changed her mind.  But this interest in politics and government led her to want to pursue a career in law.  “But times were different then.  My father forbid me to go study at the university.”  Well, she is making up for lost time now as she follows her passions. 

Photo: Reed

 

I asked her how she planned to use her 20,000 pesos.  There was an electricity in her voice when she answered me.  She smiled and placed her hand on top of mine and said, “I am going to buy some more painting supplies so that I can do more painting!”  She has been making paintings for each of her children.  Maybe with the additional funds she can start making paintings for all those grandchildren! 

This woman had something special.  She warmed my heart and I was sad when I left.  It was like I was saying goodbye to my own grandmother.  I gave her a hug and we exchanged phone numbers.  I have uploaded some of the video from our conversation.  It is in Spanish, but even those of you who don’t understand Spanish might enjoy seeing her paint and just watching her expressions.  She’s beautiful.

VERSIÓN ESPAÑOL

Mañana es el gran día.   ¿Has pensado a quien te gustaría darle tus $10?  No lo pienses tanto, sigue tu corazón.  Mi consejo es que les cuentes lo que estás haciendo, explícales rápidamente que significa el “Año del Dar”.  Si no sabes cómo iniciar la conversación, quizá este ejemplo te sirva. 

“Hola.. quería saber si me puedes ayudar en un proyecto personal.  Déjame te explico mi proyecto para que decidas si me quieres ayudar.  Estoy participando en el día mundial del Año del Dar, un día que celebra el dar sin condiciones y el compromiso de la comunidad.  El proyecto es muy simple… yo encuentro a una persona que no conozco y le doy $10 sin ninguna condición. Me encantaría que tú seas la persona que recibe mis $10 el día de hoy. 

Si la persona te dice que sí, ahora puedes hacer más preguntas y aprender más sobre él/ella.  Si no está seguro, explícale que si dice que no, simplemente tendrás que ir a buscar a otra persona.  Si dice que no vale los $10, dile que no se los tiene que quedar, que puede hacer lo que quiera con el dinero.  Si dice que prefiere que tú se lo des a otra persona que lo necesite, recuérdale que él también puede hacerlo.  Algunas veces recibes algunos rechazos… pero sigue intentando para que encuentres a la persona correcta. 

Después, comparte con nosotros tus historias aquí! 

Cambiando de tema, no pude encontrar a nadie para reunirnos y usar mi tarjeta con $100 para jugar en la Zona de ESPN.  La gente de ESPN no fue muy flexible y no pude usar el dinero como crédito para otro gasto (como comida en el restaurante, etc).  Acabé dando la tarjeta a unos niños que estaban de paseo con su clase de la escuela.  Los niños quedaron encantados. 

La profesora de la clase de arte (Photo: Reed)

Hoy tengo una historia muy linda para compartir.  Ahora que estuve de visita en Manizales, pase un buen tiempo con la Fundación Rafael Pombo.  En una de mis visitas, tuve la oportunidad de entrar a tomar fotos en la clase de arte para adultos.  Estaba tomando fotos de los alumnos y de sus pinturas cuando de repente encontré el trabajo de Doña Myriam, una señora de 85 años.  Comenzamos a platicar y supe que había encontrado a la persona que le daría los 20,000 pesos de ese día.  

Doña Myriam me dio mucha energía.  Ella tiene muchas ganas – y mucha pasión – de aprender cosas nuevas y vivir una vida activa.  Ahora está tomando clases de pintura y si ves el video, veras que tiene talento.  

Doña Myriam crió diez niños.  Desafortunadamente, un hijo hombre, un electricista, murió.  Esto me hizo pensar en la muerte reciente de mi primo Ricky y lo difícil que fue para mi tía.  Mi compasión siempre va para los padres que han perdido un hijo.  No existe nada que lo prepare a uno para eso.  Doña Myriam también perdió a su esposo que murió en 1976. 

Nuestra conversación cambio y comenzamos a hablar de los buenos tiempos, como su niñez.  Me comentó que a los 12 años, quiso unirse al partido comunista.  A los 15 ya había cambiado de parecer, pero siguió teniendo mucho interés en temas políticos y de gobierno por lo que decidió estudiar la carrera de derecho. “Pero los tiempos eran diferentes, mi padre me prohibió ir a la universidad.”  Ahora trata de recuperar el tiempo perdido y de seguir sus pasiones. 

Photo: Reed

Le pregunté cómo planeaba utilizar sus 20,000 pesos.  Hubo electricidad en su voz cuando me contestó.  Sonrió y  puso su mano sobre la mía y me dijo, “Voy a comprar más provisiones de pintura para poder pintar más!”  Ella ha estado pintando cuadros para cada uno de sus hijos.  Quizá, con las nuevas provisiones de pintura, Doña Myriam podrá comenzar a hacer pinturas para cada uno de sus nietos! 

Esta mujer tiene algo especial.  Me sentí  triste cuando me fui.  Fue como si le dijera adiós a mi propia abuela.  Le di un abrazo e intercambiamos números de teléfono.  Subí un video en español de nuestra conversación.  Es muy linda. 

Este blog fue traducido generosamente por Carla Tena en Washington, DC.

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Thanks to all of those who have become Facebook Fans and especially those who have signed up to give on June 15th, the Worldwide Day of Giving.  So far there are only a little over 300 people who have committed to giving in their own community on June 15th…so pass the word along.  My goal is to get 10,000 people around the world to do this and then have them share their experiences, pictures, etc. here with the rest of the world.  It should be amazing, but I need your help to make it happen!

Will and Matthew (Photo: Reed)

Last Thursday I found Will with his skateboard at the north end of Dupont Circle.  Will is an 18-year-old who lives in the Fort Totten area.  He was reluctant to accept my $10 because he felt there were others who were more deserving of the money, but then he decided to accept it and pass the money on.

He describes himself as a “furry artist, tattoo apprentice, capoeira student, skateboarder, traceur (person who performs parkour), film editor, and musician.”  I have to say that I felt like a huge under-achiever after learning all about his interests.  I had never even heard of parkour for example.  It is a non-competitive, physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible.  

Will said that he was going to give $5 to his mom who “could really use the money right now.”  He is going to break the other $5 into singles and give out a $1 to 5 random people.  I asked him if there was anything that people reading the blog could do to help him.  He shook his head “no” and said, “I feel that I can give more than I can receive.”  I definitely understand his thinking.

About this time, Will’s friend Matthew came along.  Matthew and Will met at the same capoeira training center.  They both share a lot of the same interests.  Matthew also trains in Japanese sword play and Japanese staff fighting.

Here is a small portion of our conversation.

If you would like to check out some of Will’s artwork, click here.

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