I’m pouring orange juice into dixie cups when a wrinkled man approaches the table before me with hesitance. I see him and only smile, too shy at fourteen to make conversation. He goes for one of the cups, but accidentally knocks it down, spilling its contents all over the table.
“I’m so sorry! I messed everything up. Just like I messed up my life.” He has tears in his eyes as he runs away.
This was my first time working at a soup kitchen, and seeing this man’s sorrow at something as trivial as spilling juice reminds me just why I’m doing this: for him, for my once-homeless mother, and for all those who have ever felt the pain of belonging to nothing and no one. This is something I want everyone to see — that the homeless are not lazy freeloaders, but real people who have lived and lost.
I hope to tell stories like this in a documentary that I want to create after attending film school. Upon graduation, I plan on immediately gathering a crew, outlining the story, and finding interviewees. There are existing documentaries on the homeless, but none that I feel have a resounding effect on society. I know that my abilities as a filmmaker and communicator will enable this documentary to make an impression on the world’s most prominent people, prompting them to not only make the economic steps to end homelessness, but to change the general attitude towards those who are affected.