MelRo’s Foundation

As much as I love drinking and making coffee, by far the best part of my job as a barista is the people I meet every morning.

And among all the great interactions I’ve had, I would say the most notable person I’ve met is MelRo.

Miss MelissaRoshan Potter started coming to the cafe where I used to work whenever she was in town for business or visiting friends. Aside from being absolutely gorgeous, she was always light and cheery, and never without something positive to contribute to any conversation. Maybe it was because I always remembered to make her iced chai lattes with almond milk, maybe she noticed a similar light within me, but we clicked immediately and exchanged information to become friends outside of the server-custie narrative.

As we got to know each other, she always encouraged me to do great in what I was pursuing and never to let anyone look down on me for the journey that led me there. It wasn’t until we connected on Instagram and Facebook that I saw how her story was a testament to every word of encouragement that she gave me.

I will let you read about her life on her website and social media profiles, but a brief summary, MelRo grew up in twenty-three different foster homes, suffered abuse, and was a teen mom at risk of homelessness. She was discovered for modeling, giving her the power to take control of her life and a platform to reach out to kids in similar situations.

She has dedicated her life to advocating for fostered youth, from speaking at schools and organizations across the country to now, building a school in Ghana for homeless children.

After a trip to Ghana, she returned feeling compelled to make a real change in the lives of the children she met there, seeing herself in them. She’s spent this year launching MelRo’s Foundation, a Ghanaian based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), purchasing land to build a school and housing for over 100 orphaned youth, and building the facility with an aggressive goal of an August 2018 completion, because the need for shelter is so great. Classes will begin September 7th, and the upcoming students are already excited and preparing for the opening ceremonies.

 

 

 

 

 

I have not seen this woman sit down since the launching of this project. Every time I check in with her, she’s in a different town, either speaking to kids or training future foster parents, or she’s working in cosmetics as a freelance makeup artist, or she’s running shoe and clothing drives for the approaching school year. She is picking up work as necessary to see this dream into fruition on her own if she has to. I am ever inspired by her tenacity. And on top of donating myself, I wanted to spread the word with this post. MelRo has a gofundme fundraiser for the Foundation, and the goal to raise $11,100 is close to being reached. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the building and development of the school. MelRo has been diligent in posting constant status updates on the gofundme page, as well as her Instagram and Facebook profiles. Please contribute to the cause if you feel led to. Of course give what you can, but as a meaningful statement of support, MelRo asks for just $23, one dollar for each foster home she lived in growing up.

If you can’t help monetarily, the Foundation is in need of supplies for the students and workers. Below is the last update she shared regarding the needs for the project.

Even sharing this post or any of her statuses on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, is a huge help. I look forward to seeing MelRo change the lives of these children in Ghana. I hope to travel with her on one of her trips in the next year to see the school, meet the students, and help out. Thanks for reading and helping contribute to the project!

Here’s the Gofundme page one more time: MelRo’s Foundation

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Homeless Encounters

I was walking around downtown the other day. It was kind of hot out, and I was running to a few different places. I go past City Hall, over where the sub entrance is, and these homeless guys start yelling at me. I had headphones on so I just ignored them and acted as if I didn’t hear them. But I did hear them…

“What is you wearing tights on for?”

“Ay. Ay! AYE GIRL! It’s too hot for them tights!”

“It’s so hot out! What is she doing?”

I swear, only in Philadelphia will the homeless community judge your fashion sense in passing. What the feezy?

Couple things..

Why do you care so much about what I’m wearing that you feel the need to yell at me on the street about it, like that will change anything? Don’t you have more pressing questions that should be answered? Like, oh I don’t know, maybe what you and the pet cat you inexplicably have are going to eat tonight? Worry about yourself! You don’t know my life! You don’t know what cold buildings I enter on a daily basis. You don’t know how often I shave my legs. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything.

They irked me. I do not mess with the homeless like that. I have stories. You’re nice and try to give, and it just backfires. I am so done.

One time my uncle and I were leaving a baseball game and walking to the car which we parked outside of the stadium lot. On the way to the car, this man was sitting outside of this fried chicken shop, and he asked us for food. We were willing to help, so naturally we went into the place he was sitting by. We get this guy a meal, bring it out to him, and he starts thanking us, telling us God bless, all that stuff. Then he opened the bag…

“…Chicken? I’M F*CKING SICK OF CHICKEN!”

And he proceeded to chuck the bag of food at us in disgust.

Oh, I’m sorry, homeless guy, that my generosity wasn’t good enough for you. You asked for food and you received food. Not good enough though. My bad. Was I supposed to drive down the road and get you something else? Nevermind the whole, beggars can’t be choosers thing, but you do realize the meaning of the term homeless, right? LIke, if you were so sick of chicken to the point of refusing it, you could just move and sit outside of some place that, y’know, wasn’t a chicken store? You’re not paying mortgage on the sidewalk, get up and leave! But yeah, he just threw the food back at us. And it’s experiences like those that have kept me from making eye contact with people on the street.

Anyway, if you have stories about your interactions with the homeless, I’d love to hear them in the comments.