Riding for The Life Link
A Fundraiser with Dennis Dodson
Field Note October 12, 2021
It is official, at the end of this month, I will begin a journey, one that will begin with a one-way train to Los Angeles. After a few days of participant observation and interviews with Angelinos, I will ride my bike, self-supported, from Santa Monica to Santa Fe, via Historical, Route-66. Contingent on seasonal weather and other factors, I expect the ride should take about two weeks. I will send images, and if my vanity permits- video streams of me crawling out of my sleeping bag in the morning.
This isn’t my first big ride. Last year, I rode from Santa Fe to Washington D.C. to raise funds for New Mexico Native American Relief Fund and Three Sisters Collective, who helped their communities, particularly their elders that were heavily impacted by COVID-19. My ride ended at the inaugural March on Washington, where I watched the torch being passed from the 1960’s generation of civil rights activists to a younger generation eager for social change.
What inspired this current ride, is that I have wanted for some time to do something to show my gratitude to The Life Link for the role they play in helping the marginalized in our community- the unhoused, the addicted, the behavioral atypical, the exploited and disposed. However, this isn’t some random agency and it is not hyperbole for me to say, “The Life Link helped save my life”. Sometimes I stand on the mental health fringes and when I do, as a friend described it, “I have a dangerous gift”. One such time, eight years ago, when I first moved to Santa Fe, I was facing homelessness and was going through a psychotic relapse. I was referred to The Life Link by my therapist and they helped navigate me through the crisis and through the “Iron Cage of Bureaucracy”. Their compassion (and art therapy programs) helped prevent me from falling into the abyss. They did this by offering a safe, nonjudgmental space, free of stigma and this they still provide me with today.
I don’t think I would be enjoying the life that I have today if it wasn’t for the support that I have received from The Life Link and I am just one of many. They have been operating almost namelessly since 1987. Yet, they creatively fill a large gap in the spheres of mental health and social service in an environment where government funding isn’t for certain.
They are a bit understated in what they do:
The Life Link is committed to improving individual and community health through breaking cycles of chronic homelessness, mental illness, trauma, exploitation, and addiction.
However, I think the way I say it, encapsulates it better, “they save lives”.
Please consider donating and tell them Dennis sent you.