By Patrick Kelly
People with mental illnesses are just that; people. They look like you, they feel like you, and they hurt like you. The only difference between you and them are the challenges they face. Within this book you will find human beings who are battling through drug addiction, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. All of which are residents of Heart Street, a home that embraces each resident’s individuality by encouraging social interaction, independence, interdependence, and responsibility. To many, whether they live there or volunteer, Heart Street is a place of hope. A sanctuary where the feeling of rejection is nonexistent. Those with mental illnesses are often denied the ability to live elsewhere, especially after being released from mental hospitals. Heart Street acts as a shelter and a compassionate environment for its inhabitants.
The home remains an institution that solely thrives due to the residents, the owner, Chiz, and Heart Street’s volunteers. The men and women who live there are responsible for the cooking, cleaning, and the upkeep. Chiz can often be found doing most of the work, but many of the residents willingly provide their help to care for the others at the home. From these duties spawns a beautiful, loving community. Heart Street shows us that even at the toughest parts of our lives, we can help others and rejoice in the hope that our care inspires.
Within Jeannette LaPointe’s work you will gain insight into the lives of those staying at Heart Street. You will find individuals who enjoy the simple things in life, such as a warm spring afternoon, an early morning cup of coffee, and a good fiction novel. You will collect the imagery of men and women who love their country, some of whom have even fought for it. You will encounter those with faith, and those without it. Now ask yourself a question about the people who have been described: besides their individual challenges with addiction and mental illnesses, in all actuality, how different are they from you?
Welcome to Heart Street.