Willow Frost is a Dreamer. She stayed at Right 2 Dream Too from February of 2012, until July 2014, when she secured housing.
Willow loves tea! So yesterday, we met up at R2DToo and went out to have a tea, chat about her life, and talk about how we could let people know what an important resource we have in Right 2 Dream Too.
Willow was helping Mike cover the security desk for a sick community member when I came to meet her yesterday.
What do you love?
I love tea! Ever since I was a teenager I have loved tea. I began drinking it because I couldn’t drink coffee anymore. Tea comes in so many varieties, even something like mint tea (the chosen tea for our chat) - the process of making it, makes it different every time. Tea is cheaper than coffee and you can get more enjoyment from it. It can calm you down, help with digestion, even prevent cancer. I love tea because their are so many uses, and tea is so diverse.
I also love reading. I enjoy fantasy novels, historical fiction, poetry, sci-fi… mostly the fiction genre. Again, it’s all about diversity. If it’s well written, I’ll read it. Of course, whether something is well written or not is in the eye of the beholder.
Tell me about your education.
My education is spotty and full. I got expelled from a bunch of schools. I wasn’t big on the school structure. I didn’t understand the rules and I couldn’t conform to them. I made it through high school.
At the first high school, I started taking German language. Then there was a multilingual gathering, with all the different language departments. That’s where I met the Japanese teacher. I found out that Japanese is a very structured language. There are rules, and if you break the rules in Japanese, then you are just talking nonsense.
I studied Japanese throughout high school. I got good enough at it that I was elected for the extended exchange trip. I spent 6 months in Japan where I learned so much and had an amazing host family. I would go back to visit if I could.
I tried college. The first time, I lasted 2 weeks. I tried a different college and lasted 1 week. I decided to get an education through living. I did that by talking to people who were intellectuals or had something they could help me learn, and by traveling the U.S.
I got an Associate’s degree from PCC and continued my education at PSU in psychology and Japanese. But a lot of my learning came from the people I met.
You can learn a lot from homeless people. Homeless people come from all walks of life. I learned a lot about philosophy from a homeless guy. He had a Master’s degree and the field he was working in sort of dried up. He had been on the streets for four years.
I learned a lot about resourcefulness from a guy named Tank in New York City. His house was the maintenance room of a subway station. He broke the lock and rigged the electricity. He had two five gallon pickle tubs, which he used for his shower. The room was the size of a small studio apartment. He had a cot for guests. I stayed there for 3 weeks. I learned about electronics and I learned how to pick a lock.
I learned a lot about debate from the Occupiers in New York. I can hold my own in an argument. I also learned how to talk to the police (or not talk to the police), both from Occupy New York and Right 2 Dream Too. They employ different methods, but they both taught me.
Why should people support Right 2 Dream Too?
R2DToo actually saved my life, I think. The February that I came, I had just got back from Michigan, where I was staying in a mission. There was no where to stay, I couldn't get services, no shelter. I had been up for 4 ¾ days because I couldn’t sleep on the sidewalk. It scared me too much. My friend Jessica told me about Right 2 Dream Too. I slept for 16 hours the first night. If I had been up another night, I may have passed out in the road and been hit by a car.
Right 2 Dream Too is doing a service that no one else in the community is doing. A lot of organizations say that they are using money to help the homeless, but they are not, because a lot of organizations are using the money they get to pay their employees. R2DToo is all volunteer run. The volunteers are homeless members, formerly homeless people, and supporters. That’s why we don’t need as much money as other organizations. Also, the people who are working understand the people who use the services.
Right 2 Dream Too needs the help! I volunteer at Right 2 Dream Too because I am needed. We need money, because our operating expenses - laundering the sleeping bags, port-o-potties, garbage service and basic supplies - are all covered by donations. We also need volunteers. I figure if I can help a bit during check in, or relieve someone from security duty who is sick, then they will have a chance to get better and have the time to better their lives.
I go to the Sunday community meetings, to stay in the loop. I also support Right 2 Dream Too by going around town, talking with homeless people, friends and people I don’t know too.
I tell them Right 2 Dream Too is a safe place. It is a place to get in out of the rain.
Willow sings at R2DToo’s Kaustic Karaoke fundraiser in June
Thank you Willow - for spreading the word about Right 2 Dream Too and for continuing to volunteer with us!
Donate to Right 2 Dream Too by clicking the Donate button on the right side of the screen -or- send a check or money order to our office address: 4635 NE Garfield Ave. Portland, OR 97211. You can also stop by the rest area have the security folks drop your donation into our safe. We have buttons, bracelets and t-shirts for sale too.
We appreciate it! -Trillium Shannon, co-founder and R2DToo board member