This is just great- Underheard in NY, which I wrote about last week, has already proved itself worthwhile. Even if nothing else comes out of this project, this one story alone makes the whole thing worth it. Danny Morales, a homeless man given a twitter account and a prepaid phone, has been able to reconnect with his daughter through the power of social media.
Morales has been homeless since November, but had been trying for years to locate his daughter. She’d been trying to find him as well. They were separated in 2000 when she went to live with her mother, from whom Morales was estranged. They moved away, and he moved to Puerto Rico.
Fast-forward to now: After Underheard in New York gave Morales the cell phones, and showed him Twitter, he took to it right away, tweeting in English and Spanish, and quickly amassing 3,000 followers.
Three weeks later, Morales decided to try to find Rivera through his new avenue to the world – and succeeded.
Someone anonymously contacted Rivera on Facebook to let her know her father was very much alive and hoped to reunite.
One contact led to another, and finally, out of the blue, came a call to Morales from Rivera Thursday night. “We’ve got so much to say,” Morales told his daughter. ” … I love you.”
Underheard is a great project on a lot of levels, most interestingly in terms of sheer return on investment. A lot of money can do a lot of good- Bill and Melinda Gates are trying to cure malaria in southeast Asia, which is great. But its easy to do a lot when you have a lot to spend. Its doing a lot with a little that is especially impressive. For the cost of 3 prepaid phones and a few man hours, Underheard in NY has reminded us that the homeless are people too, with hopes and dreams and long lost daughters.