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Mack Robertson makes big changes at homeless shelter

6:15 PM, Dec 28, 2012   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The things we take for granted are countless.

You don't have to tell that to anyone at Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed, an organization that does quite a bit to help women get back on their feet.

"So a nice, warm place to stay, three meals day, case work and other services that are geared toward moving families back into homes as quickly as possible," explains Jenn Lyke, Development Director at Gateway 180.

Of course, it took this 5-year-old to point out what was missing.

"It used to have all trucks right here and all across the lawn and stuff," says Mack Robertson.

You see, Jenn Lyke started interviewing kids to get their perspective on being homeless.

"And wrongfully we picked kids who were 12 to 14-years-old because we thought they'd be able to share their story and articulate it the best," Lyke adds.

But Mack also had some thoughts on the subject, specifically on the hardest part of homelessness.
"And he said not having a backyard," Lyke says.

It was something that never even crossed the minds of Lyke and her team, but struck a chord.

"Okay, we do have all these other important things to do, but if we can do this one thing to help ease the burden of homelessness for these kids then we need to move this higher up on the list," Lyke explains.

So they started raising money, drew up plans and opened Mack's Backyard in November. Something this five year old is pretty darn proud of.

"I wanted this to be right here," Mack says carrying a basketball goal.

Well after a few adjustments and testing out every single toy.

Of course, it will be several years before Mack really sees what he's done for other kids, but until then, even though he, his sister and his mom are in transitional housing, he can stop by and play anytime he wants.


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