At 13 years old, most kids are into video games, social media, and hanging out with their friends. One teen, however, is putting his time to good use. Jonas Corona spends his evenings making care packages for the homeless, which he hands out on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. He’s actually been doing this since he was 6-years-old. What a wonderful gesture from such a young man!
His family first took him to the area as a child to show him how hard some people had it. The experience obviously had a profound impact on the boy’s life. With the help of his family, he started the non-profit Love in the Mirror, which seeks to help homeless people and inspire young people to become active in their communities. You are never too young to make a positive change.
This is especially important for homeless people because their numbers are staggering. In Los Angeles alone, there are approximately 82,000 homeless people on any given night. This does not include people who are ‘home insecure,’ meaning their living situation is either temporary or tenuous. These people could join the ranks of the homeless at any given time.
Many of these home insecure people are teens or young people. They may come from unstable parents who deal with substance abuse or mental health issues, have a family member get sick and be unable to work, or just have a parent who has lost work and can’t find anything else. These children may wind up on the streets simply because they have no place else to go. It’s a heartbreaking cycle that leads to poverty, substance abuse, and crime.
For the United States as a whole, there are more than 1.5 million people homeless at any given time. Many of these people deal with mental health issues that have gone undiagnosed. But perhaps most surprising is that of these homeless, 44 percent actually have a job. Those who work at a minimum wage job may not make enough money to put a roof over their head, leaving them to live out of a car or seek help in a homeless shelter despite working a full time job. It can be grindingly difficult for someone to persevere in spite of such adversity.
Gestures like the ones Jonas makes can go a long way in helping people in severe need. Simple items like toiletries, clean clothing, and more than most of us take for granted can have a profound impact on the individual. Homelessness makes a person feel less than human; acts of kindness can restore their humanity and inspire them to work to get back on their feet. In recognition of his hard work, lawmakers in Sacramento have decided to honor Jonas and his non-profit. He was given special recognition for helping more than 45,000 people in need with his care packages. His family is extremely proud of his accomplishments and hopes that this special recognition will help his organization grow with people around the world.
Jonas especially wants children and young adults to get involved with helping end poverty. By engaging young people, he can start people on a path of commitment to helping that could last a lifetime. If more and more young people get involved in this fight, it may be possible to end poverty once and for all. This is a tall order, but with the right amount of work it’s something that could potentially be obtainable.
The title of the non-profit, Love in the Mirror,’ comes from the fact that Jonas wants people to love what they see in the mirror. When they see love reflected, they are more likely to go out and help others. Spreading love can be just what the world needs to fix its ills.
Jonas is a true inspiration for all people. Despite not being old enough to drive, he has helped tens of thousands of people in his community. It’s lesson to all of that we’re never too small to have a big impact on the world around us. We’re glad that Jonas got the recognition he deserves and hope that he continues this important work into the future. We all need to do our part!