Shawn Mahone Sr.
lived homeless for a week to bring awareness to youth project
Shawn Mahone Sr.
a little tired after living as a homeless man for a week to show there are people in Toledo who care about the plight of some of Toledo's troubled teens.
"I made it through," said Mahone, executive director of Young Men and Women for Change, who ended a week of homeless living in an abandoned house with no electricity, heat or running water.
This was a part of his
group's Living for Homeless for the Youth Project.
ate one meal a day: Vienna sausage, saltine crackers, juice and a Little Debbie oatmeal pie.
body using a sink and brushed his
teeth at the Cherry Street Mission, 105 17th.
"We have so many youth making unhealthy choices in life," Mahone
"Kids being disrespectful, putting their hands on their parents, disobedient, defiant, getting into trouble and getting suspended and kicked out of school.
wanted to bring awareness to parents who are crying out for help to his
organization in seeking help for their children.
A routine day for Mahone
was waking up in the morning and walking to the Cherry Street Mission.
While there, he
After that, he
would talk to other homeless people there or at St. Paul's Community Center, 230 N. 13th.
"The goal was to bring the community together and bring out as many youth as possible for them to get a feel of what homelessness is all about," Mahone
was living on the streets, he
was still working counseling youths, including those who had received school suspensions.
said 27 parents brought their children to see him.
At least one parent made his
son spend a night with Mahone
in the abandoned house, he
told all of the youngsters who visited him that if they don't make better choices the end result is likely prison, a grave yard or homeless.
Most of the teens said they didn't want to live like that, he
even had his
son, Shawn Mahone Jr., 8, with him for one night and he
didn't want to end up homeless.
son to experience what homelessness was about and how bad things can Shawn Mahone Sr.
, right, talks with a junior high student, while Cleo Hardaway, left, listens.
was disappointed that the Christian community didn't support his
"They didn't step up," he
also issued a challenge to men to join him.
No one did.
"It tells me that either people don't care or don't know or we have fallen to our own traps and failures," he
"We have to change our mindsets and realize it's not about getting the most funds, having the best titles or the most members.
It's about joining forces and truly meaning the word collaboration.
said youth exhibiting bad behavior comes from lack of discipline, education and goalsetting.
This also was a chance for Mahone
"It gave me an opportunity for God to cleanse me," he
The Young Men
and Women for Change will have its first Wing, Wine and Jazz fundraiser in collaboration with Club Evolution from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at 519 N. Reynolds.
It costs $10.
is still accepting donations for the homeless project.