Thursday, February 14, 2008

Building A Life From $25

It may be that I am not a sensitive person or that I am just overly optimistic about prospects in America, but I have never been able to understand the idea that it is impossible for the poor to get by in America. Even at the worst economic times in my life (and there have been some tight ones) I knew that things would get better.

This guy agrees with me:

Alone on a dark gritty street, Adam Shepard searched for a homeless shelter. He had a gym bag, $25, and little else. A former college athlete with a bachelor's degree, Mr. Shepard had left a comfortable life with supportive parents in Raleigh, N.C. Now he was an outsider on the wrong side of the tracks in Charles­ton, S.C.

But Shepard's descent into poverty in the summer of 2006 was no accident. Shortly after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., he intentionally left his parents' home to test the vivacity of the American Dream. His goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year.

To make his quest even more challenging, he decided not to use any of his previous contacts or mention his education.


Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved close to $5,000.


My experiences aren't exactly parallel. I was never actually homeless although I have had no problem bumming off friends, and if I needed help my parents were always willing to step up, so I had a support system this guy denied himself. Still just goes to prove America is a land of upward mobility if you are willing to work for it.

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