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John Davis

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Rehabilitate the homeless in America by using simulated environments with guidance by volunteer professionals from a variety of fields.

"Why are we helping so many poor people all across the world when we have so many homeless people here at home?" This is a common question that seems to never be answered. Is it cognitive dissonance? Is it apathy? Is it the worry of more costly social programs?

I believe in the innate goodness of people, and I believe we see it in each other every day. So why is it still a problem?

What I propose is that we work together to alleviate the suffering of others in this country by creating simulated towns that volunteer homeless can come to. By training them to maintain a hygienic existence, obtain simulated work and pay, and allow them to shop in stores stocked with donated items, we can reintegrate them into the real world again. This process would be guided by volunteer counselors, psychologists, nutritionists, financial specialists, law enforcement, and anyone else who is willing to donate their skills for creating a better future for those we all know we deeply care about. This environment could also serve as a free means for students of all levels, globally, to see constructive altruism in action. We would also welcome them as volunteers, where they can obtain real experience that could help them in their respective career-or even life-choices.

There are many innovative products being used today in developing countries that could make this program very inexpensive. By establishing a non-profit or charitable trust organization, we can assure that all donations go straight to the program.

Besides just offering our time, I believe the homeless are the key to reaching unprecedented wisdom and innovation possibilities in this country. Their unique perspective on hardship could serve to help us eventually regain our country's status as a beacon of hope for the struggling all across the world, and we can take what we know elsewhere and help all who need it.

The hope is for a restoration of pride and meaning. Both in the homeless, and in ourselves.

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    Nov 20 2012: I count 11 assertions, each of which would make a vigorous debate on its own. Are you prepared to formally argue in an effective and persuasive manner for each of them?1) Homeless people need rehabilitation.2) We are helping poor people all across the world.3) We are not helping the homeless here at home.4) People demonstrate their innate goodness every day.5) Simulated towns will restore homeless people a to participative, productive life.6) Highly paid, in-demand professionals would design and operate these simulated towns pro bono.7) We all know and care deeply about the homeless.8) Students would volunteer to participate and support the system while seeing altuism in action.9) The entire program would be donor supported with 100% going to benefit the homeless.10) Unprecedented wisdom and innovation will result from this program.11) Pride and meaning will be restored in all who participate in this program.
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      Nov 21 2012: Edward,

      Thank you very much for your reply. Your TED badges show you are an involved member, and your profile shows you are involved person. I appreciate your time.

      I mean no disrespect when I say that I just typed up quite a bit to TED Lover and Fritzie Resiner, so I will reduce my response and be as concise as possible. From there, when I have more time tomorrow (and if you have responded), I will do my best to address your questions or comments. As with everyone else, I would like to emphasize that point that the TED forums do have text limits, and what was proposed is by no means a full presentation of the proposal. Instead, it is a idea that is in its infancy, and by using these beginning discussions to brainstorm, we should all feel free to provide constructive ideas to determine its plausibility. I am looking for help on developing a notion and not gearing up for an aimless debate. I am looking for this to be a fun, creative exchange of ideas that we can all be a part of.

      Also, if any of my responses to the other two involved in this discussion answer your questions, or bring upon more, please engage. I would appreciate it.

      To quickly address your response:

      1. The only people who need rehabilitation are the ones who want help getting it.

      2. We are the most giving nation today. If you could be more specific, I'll gladly answer that in more depth.

      3. We are helping homeless people here at home. But we do not seem to have an effective, connected process that makes it simple for them. More importantly, what I have seen is that many of the organizations offer assistance, but only assistance that seems to perpetuate reliance. My objective is to create self-reliance.

      4. Yes. Such as yourself, who spends time on this website. I see this site as the epitome of opportunity in terms of connectivity and innovation potential. That requires a desire. If that desire exists within a person, and they are aware, they would likely end up here.
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      Nov 21 2012: 5. This is not a matter of fact. This is a hope. Obviously, there are no absolutes when you are dealing with people. And when dealing with people, you cannot rely completely on prior knowledge, facts or figures, or whatever other measurement tools that conventional research may use to determine an outcome. When it comes to people, you need to get hands-on as quickly as possible and begin testing ideas to fine the gaps.

      6. Yes. Local professionals, especially in the medical fields, volunteer time to struggling people all over the world. In the Phoenix area, I will point out at least two organizations:
      - Project C.U.R.E. - They collect donated medical supplies from suppliers all over Arizona, then ship them to struggling developing nations across the world. While doing so, they setup makeshift hospitals that can sustain operations for around 30-45 days. Doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals volunteer time in those places on a rotating basis. There is no compensation they received for it.
      - Valley Orthotics: - An East Valley Metropolitan Phoenix (Mesa, AZ) company, they specialize in creating free prosthetic devices for people in developing nations that have lost limbs from the variety of reasons it occurs. Every year, they return to those places to outfit the patients with updated devices until they are completed with a final fitting. They receive no compensation for it.

      7. As human beings, we are born with the driven desire to connect and help others to assure that we can be helped. As children, many (of course not all) may be afraid for homeless people, but also have a tendency to feel bad for them. If later in life they no longer feel that, that is a product of desensitizing and acceptance, not a product of true indifference. In my opinion, cognitive dissonance is what keeps more meaningful help at bay, a position that is reinforced by the fear that their efforts are pointless, or because of a lack of financial reciprocity.
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      Nov 21 2012: 8. I have no way of knowing if they will. But the doors will be open, and we would notify surrounding businesses and educational institutions that the program exists. Visitation would be on an individual basis, and likely for research purposes only. It is obviously not a zoo, and I do not think I have to elaborate on that. Any who volunteer would be put to work doing something that promotes interaction with the program, and possibly with the volunteer homeless to assist them in social adjustments if that particular homeless person requests it.

      9. Can you elaborate please?

      10. As a veteran, I hold a firm belief that hardship perpetuates wisdom through introspection and self-realization. Homeless people have often found ways to stay alive through finding out what works for them. Also, as anyone in a survival situation would, they would observe and adopt ways of other homeless people that could make their quality of life better. My hope is that through finding comfort in the few things that they have, they could put us all into a more humble perspective as they show us how what many "normal" Americans consider to be struggling is nothing more than complaining. Furthermore, the creative ways they have developed could help design products, or refine processes that could be used to help even more homeless people domestically, but offer inexpensive solutions that other poor people in the world could benefit from.

      11. Can you be more specific? In any given situation, most people feel the best about themselves when they have helped others. It gives them the chance to reassess their own life, remember how lucky they are, and drives them to do it again. Normal fluctuations of disappointment and contentment aside, the overall feeling those are left with are positive.

      Please, offer any ideas and ask any questions. Especially the hardest ones. It will give us all the opportunity to gain knowledge about it once we find the answer. Thank you again.
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        Nov 21 2012: I have scanned your responses and I am impressed with your sincerity. I will read them later. Thank you. #9 is quote from your post: "By establishing a non-profit or charitable trust organization, we can assure that all donations go straight to the program." And #11 is also: "The hope is for a restoration of pride and meaning. Both in the homeless, and in ourselves." You seem bent on doing good to others so I do not want to discourage you, but I do want to encourage you to avoid sweeping generalizations that are impossible to defend. Be well sir.

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