#DoSomethingForNothing [email protected]
This is Janusz, 65 years old. He migrated to New York City from a small town outside of Kraków, Poland with his mother when we was a teenager. Janusz has been homeless for the last four years. Initially quite shy, he watched on from a bench nearby as I was cutting hair for another person. We tried to bring him into the conversation and he slowly started to open up. Janusz asked if he could be next in line for a haircut. However, as I was finishing up and ready to call him over, I noticed he had walked away to leave the park. I asked @valeriejardin to catch up and see what had happened. A few minutes later, they returned and Janusz told me quietly that he was embarrassed about his hair being dirty... I reassured him that by the time we were finished he'd be feeling fresh and that this was not a problem for me.
During the haircut, as conversation progressed, I saw a change in this man. Evidently more confident and relaxed. There are so many ways to provide that feeling. I've seen just how high you can lift somebody when you treat them with dignity.
Janusz has worked his whole life, it's only in recent years that things took a turn. He grew up on a family farm in post-war Poland, working longer days than most of us had to as a child. When you next see someone sat on a park bench looking scruffy, remember to hit the rewind button before you judge. #DoSomethingForNothing
Last call for the @leesasleep Dream Gallery event this evening! 6-8pm 112 Wooster St, SoHo, NYC. Those who are already coming, look forward to seeing you! Anyone else that wants to come along, follow the link in my bio.
Myself and Chris @leamy_alone met up in union square last night to #DoSomethingForNothing - we hung out with Joey and John, here's what happened. Tonight we'll both be talking about these kind of experiences and the impact small acts can have in our communities. If you're not in New York you can watch live stream from 6:30pm EST on here 💛
This is Terry 27 years old. Boyfriend of Eveylon in last post. Definite restyle for this gent, he said it was time. Somebody tried to steal from Terry a week before. You can see the remains of a black eye and bruising on his head from this incident. Together, Eveylon and Terry have been sleeping on the streets together for six months. Last year, they shared a room in Brooklyn but as their drug habit picked up, things stared to slide financially. They were both open and honest about their addiction, as they were about their past. Neither one of them had the easiest of upbringings. Eveylon spoke of her last relationship before meeting Terry - "Looking back to my ex, I can't see how I let someone treat me that way. It was so unhealthy. I was feeling vulnerable already and just wanted love. That can blind you sometimes. He did some horrible things to me that I don't like to talk about much. It couldn't be more different with Terry. We respect each other. It's a love that I've never felt before. Someone walked past us on the street recently and said 'You can't be homeless because you're too happy' We haven't got much at the moment but we have each other and that's amazing." - I believed everything she said, I could feel it between them. They had this deep care for each other that felt unbreakable. It was if it didn't matter what the world has thrown at them, nobody can what they have together. Eveylon and Terry are on a methadone script now trying to work a programme towards abstinence. #DoSomethingForNothing
The music playing in the background here is the closest I've been to 'da club' in a long while and I guess it's got me thinking... You know, if someone gave me VIP access to the flashiest place that any big city has to offer, I would genuinely still prefer be right here. That's not to say I'm above all of that stuff or that I don't want to socialise. Actually, I'd struggle to even make the dress code, but that's beside the point... It's because I've been lucky enough to have a taste of what true fulfilment is for me. I wouldn't say this is some 'calling' it's just something that gives me a much deeper connection to life than I have when I'm chasing dreams on a night out. Who you choose to idolise in your life isn't for me to judge. But remember, all the bling isn't travelling with you when these precious moments you have on this planet are over. I suppose nor are the times I spend out here meeting new friends, but I'll remember all of them. This isn't my entire life, it's the part that nourishes me the most. #DoSomethingForNothing
Here's what happened when I teamed up with @leesasleep to hit the streets back in February. It's been so great to get together again this week - They're hosting an event this Thursday at The Leesa Dream Gallery - 112 Wooster St in SoHo, Manhattan. I'll be in conversation with Chris @leamy_alone and Leesa CEO David Wolfe about how small acts in your community can lead to bigger change. Come along and join in - RSVP via link in bio. If you're in the city I'd love to see you! #DoSomethingNothing
This is Eveylon, 29 years old. She only wanted a trim but I applied some leave in conditioner as I was cutting to give her hair some much needed TLC. Eveylon waited until after I'd given her boyfriend, Terry, a haircut before deciding she'd like one also. They have been sleeping on the streets together for six months. Last year, they shared a room in Brooklyn but as their drug habit picked up, things stared to slide financially. They were both open and honest about their addiction, as they were about their past. Neither one of them had the easiest of upbringings. Eveylon spoke of her last relationship before meeting Terry - "Looking back to my ex, I can't see how I let someone treat me that way. It was so unhealthy. I was feeling vulnerable already and just wanted love. That can blind you sometimes. He did some horrible things to me that I don't like to talk about much. It couldn't be more different with Terry. We respect each other. It's a love that I've never felt before. Someone walked past us on the street recently and said 'You can't be homeless because you're too happy' We haven't got much at the moment but we have each other and that's amazing." - I believed everything Eveylon said, I could feel it between them. They had this deep care for each other that felt unbreakable. It was if it didn't matter what the world has thrown at them, nobody can what they have together. Eveylon and Terry are on a methadone script now trying to work a programme towards abstinence. Eveylon lost her I.D recently, she's trying to get a new one as soon as possible to get back in the system. #DoSomethingForNothing
NYC - THIS THURSDAY! 🇺🇸❤️ Join me at @leesasleep’s Dream Gallery at 112 Wooster St. in SoHo - We'll be talking about how giving back in your community can lead to a bigger impact on the world. Huge respect for these two men and their ethos, David and Jamie. I'll also be joined by the amazing Chris Leamy @leamy_alone - RSVP and details via link in bio! #DoSomethingForNothing
This is Michael, 62 years old, born and raised in New York. He used to work as a mail room clerk in Wall Street for many years, but surviving on his wage got tough. Michael approached us on Coney Island boardwalk asking for a quarter, I told him I could give him something better than that. We headed straight for a bench nearby and I got to work on his hair. As the sun shone down it felt so relaxed there together. Just a conversation and a different connection than Michael is probably used to when hustling to get by each day. I asked him whether he had any family - "No I've always pretty much been alone. You get used to it I suppose." When I'd finished up @valeriejardin and I printed a photo for him to keep with the @fujifilm_instax_northamerica - He smiled and said - "My new friend, Josh, the barber from London!" - When Michael left, I watched him as he went over to show two policemen his photo and tell them about it. You're influence can give someone hope. It gives you hope also. #DoSomethingForNothing
I didn't have to approach Tony Sánchez. He called me over when I was walking through Tompkins Square Park in East Village - "Hey man, how are you? Where you from? I just wanna talk to someone." - Tony is fighting cancer while sleeping on the streets. He'd just received some good news on a room coming up soon and wanted to share it with somebody. #DoSomethingForNothing || 📷 @valeriejardin @fujifilmx_us #fujifilmx_us #X100F
This is Roman, 37 years old from Ukraine.
He's been homeless for six months. Roman only spoke a few words of English. Since arriving in the U.S. he's been living in Coney Island, Brooklyn, where Russian is widely spoken.
Despite the language barrier this was a really moving interaction for me. Mid haircut, tears appeared in Roman's eyes as he tried to speak to us about his mother. At the end of our time together he was full of smiles and hugs and went straight over to show his friend on a bench nearby.
When I found Roman he was sat on his own with his belongings next to him. Did he look approachable? Not really, but I couldn't be happier that I said hello and started a conversation. He's one of the warmest people I've met out here. #DoSomethingForNothing
Here's a look at when @Leesasleep and I joined forces recently at the Single Homeless Project in Camden Town, London. Being part of a Leesa donation day is something special. It was heartwarming to see what a brand new mattress meant to the residents here experiencing homelessness, trying to dream new dreams for tomorrow.
I'm out in NYC now and looking forward to teaming up with Leesa again next week. They're hosting an event on Thursday 14th, 6pm at The Dream Gallery in Wooster St, Soho, where myself and Chris @leamy_alone will be speaking. Come along and join in the conversation! RSVP in bio 😊 #DoSomethingForNothing
This is Jeff, 67 years old. He was sat in the sun on the corner of 6th Ave and W 12th St, Manhattan. A native New Yorker, Jeff worked in construction for decades in the city - "I used to live not so far from here back in the day. Like many others, prices pushed me out further and further. I lost work when I lost some of my mobility. I'm not saying that I haven't lived and had my share of highs and lows. And yes, I've made mistakes, but I never thought I'd be out here."
When I got started on Jeff's hair, something really nice happened. A girl named Jasmine saw what was happening and came to speak with us. It turned out Jasmine is a beautician who is in town working at fashion week. It wasn't long before she was on her way to the nearest store to pick up a few supplies before heading back over to give Jeff a manicure and spend some time with us. I could see just how much that meant to Jeff, with a bigger smile now in view.
This is exactly what #DoSomethingForNothing is about. I found so much m happiness and connection with complete strangers that afternoon. That's not easy to achieve in life when you walk around with doors closed to certain people. One day, a few years ago, I decided to open them up. I haven't looked back.
Got to see Alan again in east London last weekend. He's still out on Shoredtich High St. most days with his dog, Storm.
Jade ( @streetvetuk ) and I had come to the end of a busy day meeting new people. As we were about to part ways, we bumped into Alan. I cut his hair a few months ago and Jade had already met storm earlier this year. I could tell he was happy to see us so we sat down next to him and got chatting.
It wasn't long before I had my clippers out to give Alan a trim. As I started on his hair, Jade began with her vet health check of Storm, to see how she was doing. I love working alongside Jade. Her energy always puts people at ease and her drive keeps me inspired constantly.
The most important thing since starting this journey has been witnessing others get involved in #DoSomethingForNothing - THIS IS FOR EVERYONE 💛💛💛
I do what I can to bring some good vibes and I value every minute of the time I spend connecting with those on the street. Your DSFN might be different than mine. It might not be working with the homeless. It's about using your skills or time to make others smile in your community. We have to use something as powerful as social media for good where we can. This is a growing movement that I want you to be a part of :) Thank you for every message I receive, I'll always help however I can. For right now, think of how you can use the hashtag where you are. Don't let let anyone make you feel disempowered. You CAN change things. It starts small, then build. ✌️#DoSomethingForNothing ✌️
#DoSomethingForNothing yesterday with @streetvetuk 🙌🏽 I still think back on when Jade called me last year to ask me how to get involved with this. Since that moment I've been constantly inspired by her motivation to help others. She's created ripples in the veterinary world on how to provide the best care for dogs on the street. We made some new friends in east London. I cut hair while she hooked up the pups! 🐶💛 Thanks to everyone for your support and help with this growing movement!
This is Brian, 31 years old. We met as soon as I arrived in Edinburgh last weekend and he was the last person I spoke with before I left on the train back to London. Brian sits outside the station most days. This is such a busy area. Most people, understandably, are always rushing in and out. When I stopped to to greet Brian he immediately wanted to talk to me and ask where I was from and what I was doing there. He is genuinely interested in other people and how their day is going. Brian recently had some issues with his family that are quite complicated. I told him I wouldn't go into things in too much detail on here. But I can say that I saw how a simple act like a haircut gave him some inner love that he needed. We spoke a lot about what his next move in life could be. He said he feels confident to make the steps to try and rebuild relationships with his family. Brian has been sleeping on the street for most of this year, in his own words - "It's been tough and I never thought I'd become homeless. But I'm trying to take all the positives I can. I know that I've had time to reflect at least. You know, just a haircut is like - wow, It's the beginning of something I'm going to do." #DoSomethingForNothing
This is Danny, 29 years old, born in Edinburgh - "I've got used to life on the street. I grew up in a rough part of town. As a teenager, I was never far away from trouble. I've been homeless on and off for a long time now. At my age, it's not a lifestyle choice. I'm ready for change, I think I have been for a while." - Danny and his girlfriend, Amy, saw me cutting hair for another client and came over to ask if they could be next in line. It had been a year since Danny last had the chance to visit the barbers so cutting his own fringe with blunt scissors has been the best he can do lately. Amy wanted me to keep the length on top for Danny's cut. With a smile he said - "Well she's the one who has to look at me. It's nice to try something new. How many times do you get offered a free haircut!?" I spent a long time sitting with them both as they told me more about what life is like for them on the streets here in Edinburgh. #DoSomethingForNothing
This is Petru, originally from Romania, living in the U.K. for the last eight years. He is currently sleeping on the street each night in Shoreditch, east London. Having held down many different jobs since arriving in the country, his last period in employment didn't end well. He spoke to me about this as I started cutting his hair - "I was working not so far from here, at a car wash. It didn't take me long to realise that the staff were not the priority at this place. I spoke to many co workers that were under paid and the company often didn't pay the money on time. Basically, they exploit people that need quick work. It's all in the favour of the bosses. I grew to hate it. One day I'd had enough and I left." I asked Petru if there is anything for him back in Romania - "I lost my mother ten years ago. My father died when I was a young boy. The reason I came here was because there is nothing for me in Romania anymore. I grew up and lived in a small town, there weren't many opportunities to grow. I needed a new start and to change my surroundings. I was happy for some years when I first arrived here, I guess I didn't realise how difficult it would be to live in London. One thing is for sure, there's no life for me back there now. I wouldn't know where to begin."
I cut Petru's hair in an alley, away from the bustling high street where I had first met him. He said he'd prefer that. We did a lot of talking, I felt we really connected. The importance of giving someone their smile back, even for a moment, should never be overlooked. That stuff ripples. I don't know where I'd be without the people who make me smile each week. #DoSomethingForNothing