As millions of homeless women and children across the U.S. struggle to stay healthy during a global pandemic, a group of kids living in a Miami shelter have a simple message for the world: “Wash Your Hands.” In a three-minute music video released today, the children of Lotus House, a state-of-the-art shelter in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, plead with viewers of all ages to practice social distancing, prioritize personal hygiene, and do their part to keep their communities safe. The music video was written, choreographed and produced by the children of Lotus House, ages 3-15.
The video, viewable on YouTube and Lotus House’s Facebook and Instagram pages, aims to raise funds for the nonprofit’s COVID-19 relief fund, which is ensuring the shelter has the financial resources necessary to meet the everyday needs of the 500 “guests” that it houses nightly, including approximately 250 children.
“Each night, millions of children across America and 9,000 children right here in Miami go to sleep without a place to call home. That’s why our model at Lotus House puts children first,” explains Lotus House founder and President Constance Collins. “The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting our homeless population particularly hard. These are the most vulnerable members of our society, particularly women and children, which is why our mission at Lotus House is particularly important right now. If we’ve learned anything over the past several weeks, it’s that the children of Lotus House are resilient, responsible and full of creative energy.”
More than a traditional shelter, Lotus House is home to a full spectrum of wrap-around services that prioritize physical and mental health, and empower women and children by restoring dignity and hope in their lives. Restorative therapies include art, meditation and yoga, alongside practical services like job training and placement, counseling, and tutoring for children. Features of the shelter include a therapeutic children’s wellness center, an early childcare and education center, a neighborhood health clinic, and a culinary center that serves a half-million meals annually and provides training opportunities for women transitioning into the workforce.
The present-day Lotus House opened in 2018 after operating for more than a decade at another location nearby. The new shelter was developed entirely with individual and corporate dollars, and its annual operations are funded through a partnership between the public and private sectors.
To keep its community safe amidst the pandemic, Lotus House has implemented several additional healthcare measures. All shelter guests and volunteers are receiving mandatory health screenings from a licensed nurse on-site, a sanitation specialist is disinfecting all guest rooms, common areas and high-touch surfaces multiple times throughout each day, and staff and volunteers are facilitating online learning with school-aged children.
“Our mission at Lotus House is to advance the health and wellbeing of our community’s most vulnerable residents 365-days a year, and that mission takes on added importance in a crisis, so we are taking extra precautions to keep our guests safe,” adds Collins. “Those extra steps are critically important, but they are also costly. Our community has a long track record of stepping up with support for Lotus House, and we are eternally grateful to all who have already contributed to our relief fund.”
Please take two minutes to watch the video, send it to your friends and family members, and share it on social media. If you find yourself inspired, as we have, visit the shelter’s Covid-19 relief page and consider making a donation in any amount. Your support will help ensure Lotus House has the resources it needs to keep its residents healthy.