Homeless, forgotten children and the powerful work of the 'Pictures of Hope' program

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Published December 12, 2013

| FoxNews.com

In "The Wizard of Oz," the young girl named Dorothy, along with her friends The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, plus Dorothy’s dog Toto are all in search of something they need desperately. 

The Tin Man wants a brain, the Scarecrow wants a heart, the Cowardly Lion wants courage, and Dorothy longs for her and Toto to return to their home in Kansas. 

In the end (spoiler alert), "The Wizard of Oz" gives Dorothy’s three friends what they desire but Dorothy is still trying to get home.

The great Wizard of Oz tells Dorothy that all she has to do is click her heals three times and repeat; "there's no place like home." Within an instant Dorothy is back home, waking up from her dream to the reality of a loving family in a place called home. 

A happy ending!

But for millions of little boys and girls living in America, happy endings are merely fairy tales. Their dream of a place called home is a nightmare. They often find themselves living in a real world that can be heartless, brainless and lacking the courage to help.

The children, through no fault of their own, literally do not have a place to call home. They are among millions of families living below the poverty line. They are homeless or living in at risk situations.  All they can do is dream of a better tomorrow.

“My dream is to help orphans. My dream is to help other homeless people. My hope is for me to stay close to my family. My hope is for child and women abuse to stop.” –Brittney, 12 Cleveland

"My hope is to have a house." -Damion, age 8, Nashville

"My dream is for an opportunity-instead of dead end."  -Xavier, age 13, Oklahoma City

"My hope is for love." -Ashara, age 8 Albuquerque

“The road to victory is paved with defeat.”  -Shaheed, age 12, Cleveland

These are the hopes and dreams of homeless children. They may be attending school with your son or daughter. At the end of the school day the school bus picks them up and carries them to a shelter. During the holidays, many families will gather around the Christmas tree to open presents and watch the children get excited with their toys and gifts.

It’s a different scene for the homeless. Christmas will not be as merry. In fact, depending on where they're living; in a car, in an abandoned building, or in a warm shelter, Christmas will be like any typical day-a day of trying to survive.

Linda Solomon, of Detroit, Michigan, is a nationally recognized, award winning photojournalist and author.

Throughout her esteemed career, she has captured golden moments of famous personalities like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, and more.

Solomon’s eye for taking great pictures opened the window of her heart to the plight of America’s forgotten, homeless children. 

So, armed with her camera and a heart of compassion, Linda launched the program, “Pictures of Hope.”

It is a unique way of bringing awareness to the problem. With the financial backing of Chevrolet, Linda travels across the nation teaching children living in homeless shelters how to take pictures to tell their stories and to share their hopes and dreams to rise above their dire circumstances.

"Their hopes and dreams captured in quiet moments tell a story that few adults can imagine. When you show children that you care about what they wish for in life, perhaps a child who never felt he or she had self worth, now will.” says Linda.

Each child’s Picture of Hope is developed into holiday greeting cards. A special unveiling of each Picture of Hope is presented at participating Chevrolet dealerships. It’s a special moment for the public to provide help to homeless shelters. Also, people will discover what the greatest Christmas wish is among homeless children through the pictures and words they express.

Twelve year old Angelina of the Homeward Bound program in Phoenix created a card that sums up everything; “My hope is for people to know that even though you are in a dark situation there is always light to guide you.”

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/12/homeless-forgotten-children-and-powerful-work-pictures-hope-program/