30 Cities, 11,000 Miles, 75 Days: InvisiblePeople.tv Hits the Road
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by Danny Jensen July 21, 2010 07:00 AM (PT)
Summer has always been a great time for road trips: a chance to explore the country, escape the heat and eat too much fast food. But it's not often that those road trips have the ambitious and venerable goal of ending homelessness, unless, of course, Mark Horvath is at the helm.
The creator of InvisiblePeople.tv and a fellow Change.org blogger, Mark hit the road this week and will travel over 11,000 miles to visit 30 cities across the United States in order to raise awareness about the issues of homelessness and poverty. While visiting tent cities, shelters, motels and the streets, Mark will interview individuals and families about their experience being homeless. He will also appear at a variety of speaking engagements, as well as local and national media outreach events. And while Mark is usually a one-man interviewer/camera operator for the videos featured on InvisiblePeople.tv, on this trip he will be accompanied by an entire camera crew as they film a documentary on homelessness using the road trip as a background.
For the road trip Mark has already received some critical funding and support from the Pepsi Refresh Grant and 100,000 Homes, as well as donations from Hanes (for all those new socks he hands out!), Ford and a number of other corporate sponsors. This year, however, Mark was unable to find a hotel sponsor and therefore still needs help securing places to stay, as well as assistance meeting other financial needs. This is where you come in. There are plenty of ways to get involved, so I've included Mark's list of suggestions below to show how you can help make the trip a success:
* Talk about the road trip. The more buzz we create, the more change happens.
* Donate. InvisiblePeople.tv is now a 501(3) so your donation is tax-deductible.
* Donate gas gift cards, Walmart gift cards and Subway gift cards.
* Hold a fundraising tweetup in a city he's visiting.
* Sponsor a hotel (in a downtown areas).
* Do some media outreach. Contact your local news media and bloggers and encourage them to cover the road trip.
* Donate a tweet a day.
* Pray! (Lord knows I need lots of prayer, Mark says.)
* Be creative. Example: Kevin Hendricks is putting together a book to help raise funds.
Here's why it's an effort worth contributing to: you may remember the InvisiblePeople.tv Road Trip from last year, which was a huge success, not only because it connected the dots of the homeless experience across the country, but also because it had a profound ripple effect and inspired lasting change in the communities that Mark visited. One of those inspirational moments happened in Northwest Arkansas when Mark spoke at the 1,287 event organized by the CobbleStone Project. "Mark's visit provided an opportunity for our community to rally around the issue of homelessness in a way that was authentic and approachable," said Mike Rusch, founder of the CobbleStone Project. "Because of Mark's background, he spoke from a place of authority, understanding and compassion. He could talk to us about the true faces of homelessness in a way that moved beyond the stereotypes."
Just one stop on the road trip helped the CobbleStone Project launch three amazing initiatives: The Farm,The Garden and Our Step, which are making tremendous headway in fighting homelessness and hunger in the community. This year, the results could be even greater.