When the Eagles were in the Super Bowl, I needed to get my "swag" for the home town team and a friend mentioned that "Marvin's Home" was selling jerseys and shirts as a fundraiser. It was going to be a win-win all around. We went to a lovely space filled with upcycled and new furnishings. I was curious about this non-profit organization and struck up a conversation the the founder, Mel McDaniel. Being a believer that nothing ever happens by accident, after hearing Mel's story, I knew I wanted to create a short video sharing her work. She was the epitome of someone truly living namaste, filled with compassion and respect for others, Mel and her team of volunteers are transforming empty apartments into beautiful, secure and tailored homes for those who have aged out of foster care and now find themselves alone and in need of all the necessities which make a home a home. She also does this work for those who have been homeless. Mel works in coordination with Valley Youth House.
I followed Mel and her team as they readied a home for Destiny, a young mother who had previously been homeless for two years. Pictures were hung, new beds were made, a glass bowl filled with fruit, tables, chairs etc. all came into this empty space and within hours, all was ready for Destiny and her son. She now finally had a home with her own bed. She now finally was secure. She now finally could be with her son and create family rituals.
Of course, with every compelling story there is always conflict. Mel explained that she now has to either raise approximately $400,000 to buy the building where Marvin's Home is located because she will soon be loosing her lease or else she has to find a new space so that this valuable work may continue. Every dollar that is spent supports the mission of Marvin's Home - a 501(c)(3) non-profit. At the time of this writing, Mel has created homes for 41 people. "Home is a starting place for love, hope, and dreams." (unknown). This work transforms both the spaces and the people entering a new life...it transforms those who give and those who receive as they all breathe a collective sigh of contentment.
Living Namaste is translated into "The divine in me greets the divine in you" and this is exactly what took place in this small apartment on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
A gallery of my travels may be seen at: Francesschwabenland.zenfolio.com