Cherry Street CEO to focus on poverty issues in new TV showWritten by Danielle Stanton | | email@example.com
After 36 years of working at “curb level” with poverty and homelessness, Cherry Street Mission CEO Dan Rogers will share his knowledge and discuss solutions during a televised program, debuting at 9 p.m. May 20 on WLMB (Channel 40).
The weekly program will focus on several issues, including poverty, homelessness, hunger, drugs and alcohol abuse, education and families. Rogers will discuss his ideas and will have the “conversation” people are having in their everyday lives, he said.
New shows will air at 9 p.m. Tuesdays and be re-aired at 1 a.m. Thursdays, 6 p.m. Saturdays, and 6 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sundays. The show can also be watched online at wlmb.com/live.
Rogers said he hopes to reach a broader audience with his life’s work of helping the downtrodden with the show called, “Straight Line with Dan Rogers.”
“The attempt of the show every week will be to straighten out the line between problem and solution,” Rogers said. “We can see the solution from where we’re standing but there’s either so much bureaucracy or there’s so many convoluted lines of thought in terms of how can we solve (it). We all imagine there’s got to be a straighter line than what we are facing.”
Ever since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty, America has come no closer to finding a solution, Rogers said. The problem is that people don’t understand the issue, he said. The reason Rogers has taken the “risk” and has the “audacity” to tackle these issues is because of his three decades working directly with people in poverty, he said.
One problem, Rogers said, is that people have a feeling of “anonymity,” where they feel like they don’t have anything of value to contribute or have no solutions to offer.
“The best word I would use is ‘anonymity.’ … People feel so anonymous that they can’t provide a solution,” he said.
“People problems require people solutions,” he said. “We offer money solutions to people problems. Each (issue) carries with it its own bureaucracy. Even volunteerism doesn’t always get us there because we know it was an event, we know we participated … and we know it made us feel good when we did it. All that is good. But it doesn’t answer the ache of our own anonymity.”
Rogers offered an example of an issue people face everyday: Whether to give money to a panhandler. Many times people give a few dollars but they’re still not sure if what they gave will have an impact. Perhaps the solution is for people to care in a different way, Rogers said.
“We don’t need people to care more. We happen to live in a very caring community,” he said. “In a lot of cases, we need to care differently. That dollar was caring but could we care differently? It translates into how we could slow down and create a better community.”
The television program is one way to slow the conversation down, Rogers said. Talk is now at a “drive-by” speed, and people “keep driving because they don’t know what else to do. Leadership and in daily conversation, there’s not a lot of solutions. We can slow down and we can stop and get out and engage each other in solutions. … The solutions are in people.”
Roger’s co-host will be Delray Busch, education and workforce development manager at Cherry Street Mission. She will pitch Rogers questions and, starting with show No. 5, they will have guest appearances.
“Sometimes with homelessness it’s what’s on the top that we see but there is so much more below it,” Busch said. “Family issues, the church and how it relates to homelessness, panhandling, hidden economies that you don’t even think about it. There’s this whole other world in which people are trading things and making money on the side. (The television show) really has to do with the bigger issues.”
Rogers has spent the past three decades in the human services field. He started at Cherry Street Missions 13 years ago to start the volunteer department. He then moved to head men’s programming. Nine years ago, he became CEO.
“I’ve always worked in the human services field,” Rogers said. “I grew up in poverty and in a lot of crime and violence. I learned early in my life I wanted something better than what I had. By the time I was 14, I was on my own. I put myself through college. … As far back as I can remember I wanted to be in service to other people and that has been driving every decision I’ve made.”
“I learned a long long time ago that my role in life is to be ‘chief reminding officer,’ to remind (people) of their humanness and of their ideals, and what they got up to do that morning.
“All I’ve ever attempted to do at Cherry Street is to straighten the line between problems and solutions,” Rogers said.