TED Conversations

John Davis

This conversation is closed.

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 26 2012: Here is another example of how the brainstorming phase can work. This is posted from my class:

    ***From the Professor***
    C. Build a Prototype (Part 1) - 5 points, due Sun. by 11:59pm
    This activity is based on Ch. 6, Tips for Developing Experimenting Skills, Tip #5
    on pg. 152-153 of your text.
    1) Revisit the problem you selected in the ‘Enlightening Yourself’ activity from Week 4 as it will be the basis of this activity. Since we have ‘slept on it’ for a couple weeks, you may find new ideas/thoughts come to you more easily regarding the problem. I have commented on just about everyone’s posts- please use my feedback to guide your work for this activity.
    a) The end goal of this multi-part activity will be to design and construct (build, draw, visualize, diagram, etc.) a solution to this problem using the five skills of disruptive innovators
    i) The solution could be a product, system, tool, etc. and will be discussed more in next week’s Activity Set
    2) To begin, answer the following about the problem:
    a) Based on the information you obtained previously, explain what you believe is/are the potential source(s) of the problem
    b) Brainstorm potential solutions for this problem (list at least six)
    i) Don’t worry about cost or feasibility of the solutions in this stage (wild solutions are fun!)
    ii) As always, have fun with this! Get family and friends involved if you’d like.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.