An Invisible Thread: Action Beyond Thought

“Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change? I am hungry.”

When Laura Schroff first met Maurice on a New York City street corner, she had no idea that she was standing on the brink of an incredible and unlikely friendship that would inevitably change both their lives. As one lunch at McDonald’s with Maurice turns into two, then into a weekly occurrence that is fast growing into an inexplicable connection, Laura learns heart-wrenching details about Maurice’s horrific childhood and journey's into a friendship that has spanned over three decades.

When I lived in Boston, I can't tell you how many homeless people I walked past every day. They became like part of the scenery, only sticking out if one of the crazier ones screamed at himself in the subway or held the door open for you in hopes of some change in return. I never saw children begging, at least not that I remember, which disturbs me because I wonder if perhaps I did and I ignored them as many of us do. Laura Schroff did too. She admits it. But then she stopped because something drew her to one little boy on a street corner.

An Invisible Thread reminded me of that small link we have with humanity. It reminded me that the things we take for granted like brown bag lunches, Christmas presents, and dining rooms, are some of the things that other children crave desperately. I read articles about politicians and policy makers every day who are constantly asking how do we clean up the streets, lower crime, get people off of welfare. I think some of those answers lie within the pages of this book. It is about showing children that the vicious cycle they are stuck in, the lies they are being told daily, does not have to be their life.

Maurice could have easily become a drug dealer or an addict. I would even say that if a woman had not stopped on that street corner and come into his life, he probably would have been one or both. But how many children out there are like Maurice? Good kids who have never met anyone with a real job before, whose lives have been one welfare motel to another.

So my charge to you, my dear readers, is to open your eyes and look for ways in which you can be a good example for a child. In Maurice's words, "Kids like us know about this stuff, but we are always on the outside looking in." Perhaps this year you can open your heart and life to someone.

For suggestion on ways that you can help children in your community check out these links:

Boys & Girls Clubs of America


Big Brothers Big Sisters

Also, check out local schools, Urban ministries, and Literacy centers for places where you can volunteer. It may be only a few hours out of your week, but the difference you can make in someone's life is beyond huge. In case you need a reminder though, read An Invisible Thread.

An Invisible Thread - Laura Schroff, Valerie Salembier & Alex Tresniowski