I started getting into Google Maps a few years ago because I believe in people. I like to celebrate people. I try to see the best in people. That's why I'm excited to share that the "most interesting thing I've done as a Local Guide" is to help my neighbors - people who are experiencing homelessness.
There are an estimated 580,000 homeless individuals in the United States and about 1,000 of them live in my neighborhood of Santa Monica, California. More than 60,000 across Los Angeles county. It's a heartbreaking epidemic. After a few "smiles and hellos" between us, I asked a gentleman named Joe what I could do to help people like him living on the streets. He said there were a lot of resources out there, but it was tough to find them because he has "Finding Dory Syndrome" and always gets lost. He said he needed a "better map."
The official Local Guides mission is to share a better map for all, including Joe. So I started creating Google Maps lists just for Joe, so he'd know what his options are regarding basic necessities like food and shelter. We exchanged email addresses and I sent him a map within an hour. Joe was stunned and said, "you have really...., i mean wow. you raised the bar on the system in place. like you pulled this list together and created a new kind of policy, for how homeless info should be easy for them to see."