It is Christmas Morning. Sunny but brisk. The streets of Hollywood are empty, yet home to a few souls.
This is where I met Dona.
She was given a bus token from The Friendship Center. It was four years ago, on Martin Luther King’s birthday that Dona arrived at LAX with the hopes of meeting her children there. She was there for 3 1/2 weeks to no avail.
Sitting here on the sidewalk with all of her worldly possessions, she cradles the one thing that keeps her happy and content, Beaslow, a one year old German Shepard and Papillon mix. Their love for each other is abundant.
“I wouldn’t keep going if it were not for my faith. I am grateful for my faith and for being alive. My baby dog has given me a lot in life. I’m tone deaf and autistic so she kind of lets me know what’s going on and that really helps me a lot. I am grateful for being in The United States. What keeps me going is, I know that I’m going to come out of this and survive but, I’m going to be more than just a survivor. I’m going to be a leader one day. I’ve been a leader before, and I’m going to do it again”.
Her advise to the younger generation is to not give in. “Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t give into the dark side of the world. Do what you want to do. Don’t let someone sway you and change what you want in life”. “If you have a talent in life, and you are good at it and someone says that’s stupid or makes fun of you, that’s because they want to sabotage your creativity and your gift. Don’t ever give your gifts away to anyone else. Strive to be the best you can be”.
“Be true to yourself”.