Derek Jones - Starting a conversation

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Derek, I loved your story and I can relate to the good qualities that you found in the homeless. I volunteer at the Yamhill County Gospel Rescue Mission and my experience echoes yours. What a blessing to walk beside those who have gone through some of the pain of wrong choices and see them learn and grow to use their strengths.


I too volunteer at a homeless shelter. In talking with many of the homeless I have not found one who doesn't freely acknowledge that he or she got there through their own bad choices. Not once have I met anyone who blamed anyone more than themselves. There is a clarity to the thinking of many of them that mainstream humanity may not like to face.

One man told me what he said to a couple of highschool girls sent to interview him as to what causes homelessness. He told them that dropping out of school is the first step.

A great many of the homeless people I meet started out with two strikes against them. Many have alcoholic parents, people who are too consumed with their own issues to have much left over for those who need and deserve their nurturing care. I believe that one huge contributor to the woes we put ourselves through is the lack of mentors. Every child should have at least one person unconditionally on their side.

Mary Starrett

Thank you, Derek.

I am a foster mentor for a Newberg teenager. As I navigate the system and try to keep her on the straight and narrow I am finding that far too many of our foster kids age out of the system, and without any support system or family to fall back on many wind up homeless.
I hope we will all come to see that there is no one reason for homelessness. Each homeless person has a story to share and a reason why they are without a place to call home.

Mary Starrett

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