Based out of Los Angeles, Mark is someone with an incredible story. Fifteen years ago, Mark was homeless and sleeping on the streets of Hollywood.
But he managed to get back on his feet, and then some. He was at the top of his game – working in Hollywood, bringing some of the best-known shows on television to viewers across the world, a great future – Mark was living the American dream.
Then the economy collapsed. Mark fell into a mix of drug and alcohol abuse, lost his job, became homeless, and lost his way. He fought hard to get back on his feet again, and get his life in order. And he did. But he’s always just one step away from being homeless again.
From that time, Mark took the experience of being homeless, and the stories of the people he met on the street, and created Invisible People. A site full of video, it shares the stories of the homeless in L.A. and beyond, and lets you see the person behind the stereotypical image we let ourselves create when we see a homeless person.
It’s been a huge success and has opened a lot of eyes to what homelessness really is. Hint – it’s not all drug abuse and choice.
Now Mark has a new project, and one I really hope you’ll check out and offer your support to.
We Are Visible
We Are Visible is a simple idea – and simple ideas are often the best. Many homeless use their local library’s Internet-enabled computers to connect with others, and try and learn new skill sets that could help them get back on their feet.
They also can find medical help; companies and organizations that help the homeless; lost family and loved ones; and so much more. Yet often they only know the basic email and Internet access.
As Mark’s shown, social media offers an incredible platform to not only connect, but tell stories. And this is exactly what We Are Visible aims to do, by making social media simple for anyone homeless to understand, and use.
There are videos that show you how to set up a Gmail account, as well as a Twitter and Facebook profile. Additionally, We Are Visible shows you how to set up a free blog, and connect your profiles to it.
You can then share your story through the main We Are Visible social networks, as well as be put in touch with other homeless folks. And, where possible, be connected to companies that could help you get back on your feet and/or off the streets.
Last Christmas, 12for12k partnered with Mark to show people how they could help the homeless in their own towns and cities, and we’ll be doing something very similar this year again, starting in November.
In the meantime, however, We Are Visible is a brilliant concept, and one that I’m honoured to share with you. Please, check the program out, and if you feel you can help raise awareness of it, get in touch with Mark and see how you can help.
One way is to order promo cards (if you’re in the U.S.) and these can be ordered here. More information will be available via the networks below.