We’ve spent the last couple of days with Captain Paul Moulds at Oasis in Sydney, Australia. Oasis is a Salvation Army initiative and a youth support network. They do more than offer “street kids” a meal and a bed to sleep in – they give them a shot at a better future.
Homelessness is a big problem in Sydney, Australia as it is in other civilized, cosmopolitan and economically advantaged cities across the globe. It stands out as a contrast to the wealth and prosperity within the same city confines. And what is most staggering is that the majority of the homeless are young people.
How tragic for youth to start their lives with so many strikes against them. But people like Paul Moulds, his wife Robbin, and countless others are committed to reaching out to these youth to help them find their place in society and hopefully a better future. Paul clearly has a gift with the way he can communicate and “reach” troubled youth. He says it’s his calling and that is evident in just the few hours I’ve spent with him.
Some people would be intimidated or even frightened to venture into the night and talk to the homeless and the “tough” kids that have made a life on the streets, and along with that a life of drugs and violence. Paul may provide a cup of coffee but more importantly, he provides the human connection and the basic human need for communication and belonging.
I spoke with one young man who has been coming to Oasis since he’s been 16 years old. He was thrown out of his house and all he really wants desperately is to be part of a family. His wants are simple – to love and be loved. How very basic and yet so tragic that being part of a family seems so out of reach for so many.
Paul reiterated these same thoughts to me during our interview with him and how important the need for a sense of family is. It’s so easy to forget that coming from a stable family environment and background. But I will never take that for granted again – to know that I have people in my life who care for me and whom I can depend on. People who will be there for me no matter what. And I can’t help but wonder – but for the grace of God – things could have been different for me or for my daughter – merely by chance because of the world we were born into.
After meeting people like Paul Moulds and Ronni Kahn on this great continent and country, I feel so blessed that we had that great fortune and that they agreed to participate in our film. I cannot wait to get this project edited so that I can share with all of you their wonderful words. I truly know now that we were meant to do this film and meet these inspirational people and am convinced that they will be an inspiration for countless others to share their passions and make the world a better place.