Replacing Homelessness Substance Abuse, and Mental Illness Stigma with Hope and Understanding


The Kensington  neighborhood of Philadelphia has been long neglected by the city of Philadelphia. I was born and raised there for the early part of my life and have always had family who lived in the neighborhood. Watching it transform over the years into a place where victims of substance abuse and mental illness go to escape has been heart wrenching. Trisha Baum, of the non-profit organization, Hand N Hearts feels the same way. Hand N Hearts mission is to give those in need, a hand and to let others know that there is Hope and Understanding. Their goal is to replace Stigma with Hope that's associated with homelessness, substance use disorder and mental illness, one heart at a time. Trisha has been personally affected by the drug epidemic in Philadelphia when her brother became addicted. The Mayor's office  has set up a special task force to combat this tragic problem in Phialdelphia, but Trisha decided to take matters into her own hands. 

My students and I recently volunteered with Trish's organization and we were humbled and enlightened to participate in the beautiful work her organization does. We made care packages for those affected in Kensington and hit the streets to bring joy to community members. We even helped one man get off the streets and into a recovery home. It is amazing what happens when you treat people affected by the opioid crisis as people, who need health care, instead of  criminals. Check out below for the volunteer video we made for Hand n Hearts and our Podcast interview with their founder Trisha Baum. If you would like to volunteer for Hand N Hearts visit If you want to contact them directly you can reach them at 1-856-258-7482 or by emailing them at

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published